10

PopeWatch: Separated at Birth

Jonathan Last at The Weekly Standard reminds of the similarities between The Pope and The Donald:

 

I used to think of Francis as the David Souter of Rome. But the deeper we get into his papacy, the clearer it is that he’s incredibly similar to President Trump. Francis doesn’t read, or seem overly concerned with policy or theology. He’s dismissive of long-standing traditions and established theological “experts” and instead wants the Church to be more populist. He’s prone to speaking off-the-cuff and without the pieties of formality. He likes to bully his subordinates instead of building consensus. He has a knack for searching out hot-button issues where he can sow division rather than building consensus. He has an incredibly healthy sense of his own executive acumen. Continue Reading

2

Sixty Years After Sputnik

I was less than one year old and the Space Race assumed ominous proportions with the launching of Sputnik on October 4, 1957 by the Soviet Union.  Its radio transmissions could be picked up easily by amateur radio enthusiasts and its orbit was low enough, the Soviets making sure its orbit was over the most densely populated portions of the planet, to be seen by the naked eye.  The propaganda victory for the Soviets was immense and the US saw its claim to be ahead in science seem to be hollow.   Politicians had a herd of collective cows and the Space Race was kicked into high gear.  The US satellite Explorer I was launched on January 31, 1958, the day following my future bride’s birth, after the Soviets had launched their second Sputnik in November of 1957.  Developing satellite technology in response to Sputnik and beating the Soviets to the moon  became  a key element in the Cold War.  Sputnik burned up on reentry on January 4, 1958, but its impact on history continues to reverberate to today.

 

13

PopeWatch: Cafeteria Catholics

Father Z takes on the accusation that orthodox critics of Pope Francis are cafeteria Catholics:

 

First, Jesuit Thomas Reese wrote (at the horrid RNS), about how more conservative Catholics are now “cafeteria Catholics” because they disagree with Pope Francis.  But there are some problems with his argument.

More Catholic than the pope

[…]

Four cardinals (two of whom have recently gone to their eternal reward) criticized the pope publicly in 2016 by issuing what they called a “dubia,” asking the pope to clarify what they considered his straying from the true faith. [No.  They did not criticize the Pope.  They asked, rather humbly, for clarifications of what he really means to teach.] Last month, several dozen theologians accused the pope of spreading heresy.  [No. The Correctio Filialis does not accuse the Pope of spreading heresy.  It states that the Pope has caused confusion through negligence.  That’s not nothing, but it isn’t a direct accusation of here, as Reese falsely claimed.]

[…]

These criticisms of Pope Francis put progressive Catholics in an awkward position. Progressives are big fans of Francis, but it would be somewhat hypocritical of them to suddenly become papal absolutists when they clearly had disagreements with Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI. On the other hand, conservatives who are now critical of Francis accused progressives of being “cafeteria Catholics” when they disagreed with John Paul or Benedict. [No.  When they disagree with the CHURCH’s teaching, such as on the issue of the ordination of women or contraception, etc.]

All I can say is, “Welcome to the cafeteria.”  [Um… no.  Some of us don’t want to be in the cafeteria at all and we refuse to enter.]

The truth is all Catholics are cafeteria Catholics. [No.  We don’t accept the premise.]  Conservative Catholics were quite willing to ignore John Paul’s and Benedict’s strong statements on justice and peace, [No.  That’s not the case.] and progressive Catholics are happy to ignore Francis’ opposition to women priests.

Disagreeing with the pope was not welcomed during the papacies of John Paul and Benedict. [Does he seriously think that FRANCIS welcomes disagreement?!?] Bishops, priests, theologians, and Catholic publications were expected to unreservedly cheer any statement that came out of Rome. [For those of you who don’t know, Reese was sacked as editor of Jesuit-run America because of its increasingly heterodoxy.  He is still grinding his axe.] Priests were silenced, [that’s happening now] seminary professors were removed, and magazine editors were fired if they strayed from the party line. The open debate that occurred during the Second Vatican Council was closed down. [Pure fantasy.] Candidates for the episcopacy were chosen based on loyalty to Rome rather than on intelligence or pastoral abilities. [B as in B. S as in S.  How insulting.]

[…]

Enough of that.  All he is trying to do is justify liberal dissent.  We are unconvinced.

Continue Reading

25

Pernicious Make-Believe

“One has to belong to the intelligentsia to believe things like that: no ordinary man could be such a fool.”

George Orwell

 

 

 

We live in a low, dishonest time when powerful forces in our society seek to have us render obeisance to self-evident lies, and those who dare speak the truth are shouted down.  Nowhere is this more the case than in the area of sex, where the central dividing line of humanity, that God made us man and woman, is taken to be an artificial construct, and that we may choose our “gender identity” and that others should be forced, at peril of losing jobs, draconian fines and imprisonment, to treat as gospel truth this manifest absurdity.  Times of deep decadence usually are ages of entrenched mendacity, but our time outdoes all the preceding examples of such folly by politicizing basic biology.  43 years ago Solzhenitsyn in the old Soviet Union penned an essay, Live Not by Lies.  Go here to read it.  Let that be our motto.  We must have courage that truth will prevail and refuse to cower before lies, even if the rest of the world is shouting the falsehoods.  Let us take courage from the fact that right makes might and that God, Truth Incarnate, will ever be with us in our struggle.  Besides, our adversaries are fools at war with reality, and reality has a way of winning in the end.

 

 

 

 

2

PopeWatch: Valeria Fedeli

 

Sadly, this is no surprise:

 

When a book bearing the Pope’s name, Learning to Learn: Reflections on Education Issues (“Imparare ad imparare. Riflessioni sui temi dell’educazione”), appeared in bookstores last Thursday, it bore the preface by Fedeli, sparking a wave of criticism by Catholics and pro-family groups. One local media outlet noted that the choice for preface-writer seemed “almost a provocation.”

When Fedeli was appointed Education Minister last December, the Italian pro-family group Generazione Famiglia called the decision a “declaration of war” against the traditional family and the right of children to have a mother and a father.

In recent years, Fedeli has been “undoubtedly the most tenacious and ideological supporter of the manipulation of school programs at every level according to the dictates of gender theories,” the organization declared. Continue Reading

11

Francis, They Hardly Know Ye

Hattip to Elliot Bougis in regard to the below video.  Strong content advisory for the video for anyone who occasionally suffers from Kumbaya flashbacks to the Seventies.

 

 

For the benefit of those who believe that Saint Francis was some sort of medieval precursor to hippies/ecologists/ occupy wall street/new agers:

Like most very great men and women, legends began to cluster about Saint Francis even while he lived.  One of these involved his meeting with Pope Innocent III.

While the Vicar of Christ listened attentively to a parable told by Francis and its interpretation, he was quite amazed and recognised without a doubt that Christ had spoken in this man.  But he also confirmed a vision he had recently received from heaven, that, as the Divine Spirit indicated, would be fulfilled in this man.  He saw in a dream, as he recounted, the Lateran basilica almost ready to fall down.  A little poor man, small and scorned, was propping it up with his own back bent so that it would not fall.  “I’m sure,” he said, “he is the one who will hold up Christ’s Church by what he does and what he teaches.”  Because of this, filled with exceptional devotion, he bowed to the request in everything and always loved Christ’s servant with special love.  Then he granted what was asked and promised even more.  He approved the rule, gave them a mandate to preach penance, and had small tonsures given to all the lay brothers, who were accompanying the servant of God, so that they could freely preach the word of God. 

 

Cf. St. Bonaventure’s Major Legend of St. Francis, III:10

Saint Francis is probably the most popular Catholic saint among non-Catholics.  It is always pleasing of course for Catholics when non-Catholics recognize the heroic sanctity of one of their champions, but in the case of Saint Francis, I fear this popularity among non-Catholics is largely due to a fundamental misunderstanding about Saint Francis.  Saint Francis is often portrayed as a precursor of the modern environmental movement, a pantheist and a pacifist, someone, in short, who was preaching a message in the thirteenth century that accords nicely with twenty-first century liberal secular sensibilities.

Of course none of this is true.   Saint Francis never preached any doctrines in accord with the modern ecological movement and simply was not concerned with those types of issues that were absolutely foreign to his time.  Saint Francis was a completely orthodox Catholic who worshiped God with such intensity that he was the first to receive the stigmata.  Saint Francis never breathed a word against the Crusades and participated in the Fifth Crusade to Egypt.

As popular as Saint Francis is with non-Catholics, Innocent III would likely be equally unpopular if historical ignorance were not so wide-spread today.  He was the most powerful pope in secular matters in the history of the Church.  He made and unmade kings and emperors;  in his pontificate Constantinople fell to western crusaders, although he opposed this;  he began the Albigensian Crusade;  he dominated his age as no pope before or since.  To many moderns Innocent III would be the anti-Saint Francis. Continue Reading

7

The Black Heart of Man

“When God put man in a garden
He girt him with a sword,
And sent him forth a free knight
That might betray his lord;

“He brake Him and betrayed Him,
And fast and far he fell,
Till you and I may stretch our necks
And burn our beards in hell.

GK Chesterton, The Ballad of the White Horse

 

The Vegas Massacre reminds me of the basic fact of the human condition:  free will.  We are made in the image of God in that, like God, we have freedom of will.  Unlike God, we sometimes choose evil.  Looking at what I have just written, that is incorrect.  Sometimes we revel in it.  Absent mental illness, that is precisely what the Vegas shooter was doing as he gunned down hundreds, slaying 59 innocents and counting.

We live in a time of pernicious make-believe when all too many assume that Man is essentially good and that if only we have enough laws and social programs, utopia awaits.  Our ancestors were usually wiser.  They understood that evil is part and parcel of the human condition, which is why Man needs a Savior.  Too many of us today have forgotten that all-important element in understanding Man.  Thus crime is not to be punished, but rather criminals are to be rehabilitated.  Men are not responsible for their actions and thus we focus on inanimate objects that are somehow held to be responsible for the evil that Men do.  Mercy is emphasized rather than justice.  Man is taken to be infinitely malleable and if only we could find the right social formula, ghastly events like the Vegas massacre would be just bad memories.

In our folly we trust in Man to cure his sickness of soul, a hope that is to be ever disappointed.  Our only hope is in God, and a turning to Him to save us from the evil within us that ever threatens to engulf ourselves and others.  One hundred and twenty years ago Rudyard Kipling, who described himself as a devout Christian atheist, understood Man so much better than we do today:

 

God of our fathers, known of old,
   Lord of our far-flung battle-line,
Beneath whose awful Hand we hold
   Dominion over palm and pine—
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget—lest we forget!
The tumult and the shouting dies;
   The Captains and the Kings depart:
Still stands Thine ancient sacrifice,
   An humble and a contrite heart.
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget—lest we forget!
Far-called, our navies melt away;
   On dune and headland sinks the fire:
Lo, all our pomp of yesterday
   Is one with Nineveh and Tyre!
Judge of the Nations, spare us yet,
Lest we forget—lest we forget!
If, drunk with sight of power, we loose
   Wild tongues that have not Thee in awe,
Such boastings as the Gentiles use,
   Or lesser breeds without the Law—
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget—lest we forget!
For heathen heart that puts her trust
   In reeking tube and iron shard,
All valiant dust that builds on dust,
   And guarding, calls not Thee to guard,
For frantic boast and foolish word—
Thy mercy on Thy People, Lord!

The black heart of Man can only be conquered by the white heart of God our savior.  Thy mercy on Thy People Lord!

 

Quotes Suitable for Framing: Colonel Strelnikov

 

 

 

 

“What I despise most about warfare, is the hypocrisy if often breeds. I’ve heard euphemisms that we are ‘containing the enemy’, that our ‘sector of pacification is growing’. These are the tactics of the lie. Lies have the stench of death and defeat. You can only win a war by exterminating the enemy! Do you know who we are fighting? We are fighting Wolverines: small, ferocious animals. For them, you need a hunter. And as you know, I am a hunter. From this moment on, there will be no further reprisals against civilians. This was stupid. Impotence. Comrades, if a fox stole your chickens, would you slaughter your pig because he saw the fox? No! You would hunt down the fox, find where it lives and destroy it! How do we do this? Become a fox.”

 

Colonel Strelnikov (William Smith), Red Dawn (1984)

17

Vegas Massacre

Held off posting this in hopes of obtaining more information.  Lots of questions, especially as to the motivation of the murderer:

 

Las Vegas attack marks the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history

Las Vegas attack marks the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history  

The suspected gunmen in the Las Vegas shooting has been identified as 64-year-old Stephen Paddock of Mesquite, Nevada.

Read CNBC’s full Las Vegas shooting coverage here.

Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department Sheriff Joseph Lombardo said that the shooter was found dead in a room on the 32nd floor of Mandalay Bay in an apparent suicide. Lombardo said Paddock opened fire from the room, and there were no other shooters. Police said he had no known connection to terrorism.

 

“We have no idea what his belief system was,” Lombardo said.

At least 58 people were killed and more than 500 were sent to hospitals after the gunman opened fire on more than 22,000 concertgoers in Las Vegas late Sunday. It was the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history.

Lombardo said the police department had located a number of firearms in the room he occupied in the hotel. Officers will also be carrying out a search on Paddock’s residence in Mesquite, 90 miles northeast of the hotel.

Investigators said they located a woman who had been traveling with Paddock, Marilou Danley.

Continue Reading

2

Gas

GAS! Gas! Quick, boys!– An ecstasy of fumbling,
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time;
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling
And floundering like a man in fire or lime.–
Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.

In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.

Wilfrid Owen

 

 

 

One of the horrible features of World War I was the military use of chemical agents.  Although gas attacks rarely produced decisive results, from 1915 both sides made use of gas in attacks.  The US, along with almost every other element necessary to wage modern war, entered World War I ill-prepared to deal with gas.  Initially gas training consisted of a brief lecture followed by rudimentary instruction on the use of gas masks which the Army was badly supplied with in any case.  Training improved as the War went on, but US troops sustained unnecessary gas casualties due to the original shoddy training.

The US formed the 1rst Gas Regiment which deployed phosgene gas, a nasty compound which produced about 85% of the 100,000 gas fatalities incurred during the War.  US artillery batteries were supplied with mustard gas shells.  All told there were 1.3 million gas casualties during the War.  Although conventional artillery was the overwhelming killer during World War I, most veterans came out the conflict with a great horror of gas weapons, which might help explain why they were not used militarily in World War II, when most of the high command of the nations involved were Great War veterans.

3

PopeWatch: Limits

Rorate Caeli reminds us that the Pope Emeritus has written on limits to the power of a Pope:

In 1969, the future Pope Benedict XVI, then Fr. Joseph Ratzinger, wrote that criticizing papal statements was not only possible, but even necessary, to the extent that the pope might deviate from the Deposit of Faith and the Apostolic Tradition. Pope Benedict XVI included these remarks in his 2009 anthology of his writings, Fede, ragione, verità e amore. These remarks, which we now publish below in English translation, are particularly relevant in light of the filial correction of Pope Francis last week:
“One should especially avoid the impression that the pope (or the office in general) can only gather and express from time to time the statistical average of the living faith, for which a decision is not possible contrary to these average statistical values (which, besides, are problematic in their verifiability). 
The faith is based on the objective data of Scripture and of dogma, which in dark times can also frighteningly disappear from the consciousness of the greater part of Christianity (statistically), without losing in any way, however, their obligatory and binding character.
In this case, the word of the pope can and should certainly go against statistics and against the power of an opinion, which strongly pretends to be the only valid one; and this will have to be done as decisively as the testimony of tradition is clear (like in the given case). 
On the contrary, criticism of papal pronouncements will be possible and even necessary, to the extent that they lack support in Scripture and the Creed, that is, in the faith of the whole Church. 
When neither the consensus of the whole Church is had, nor clear evidence from the sources is available, an ultimate binding decision is not possible. Were one formally to take place, the conditions for such an act would be lacking, and hence the question would have to be raised concerning its legitimacy.”
Das neue Volk Gottes: Entwürfe zur Ekklesiologie, (Düsseldorf : Patmos, 1972) p. 144.
Fede, ragione, verità e amore, (Lindau 2009), p. 400.
Ratzinger continued his reflections on the limits of the power of the Roman Pontiff to contradict immutable doctrine as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and later as Pope Benedict XVI.
“The Roman Pontiff – like all the faithful – is subject to the Word of God, to the Catholic faith, and is the guarantor of the Church’s obedience; in this sense he is servus servorum Dei. He does not make arbitrary decisions, but is spokesman for the will of the Lord, who speaks to man in the Scriptures lived and interpreted by Tradition; in other words, the episkope of the primacy has limits set by divine law and by the Church’s divine, inviolable constitution found in Revelation. The Successor of Peter is the rock which guarantees a rigorous fidelity to the Word of God against arbitrariness and conformism: hence the martyrological nature of his primacy.”
“The power that Christ conferred upon Peter and his Successors is, in an absolute sense, a mandate to serve. The power of teaching in the Church involves a commitment to the service of obedience to the faith. The Pope is not an absolute monarch whose thoughts and desires are law. On the contrary: the Pope’s ministry is a guarantee of obedience to Christ and to his Word. He must not proclaim his own ideas, but rather constantly bind himself and the Church to obedience to God’s Word, in the face of every attempt to adapt it or water it down, and every form of opportunism.”
Go here to read the original post.  New found enthusiasts for papal power on the Catholic left are of course unaware of this, as they are of most things that occurred in the Church prior to the current pontificate.

 

 

5

Tax Collectors, Prostitutes and Our Shocking Gospels

Jesus said to the chief priests and elders of the people:
“What is your opinion?
A man had two sons.
He came to the first and said,
‘Son, go out and work in the vineyard today.’
He said in reply, ‘I will not, ‘
but afterwards changed his mind and went.
The man came to the other son and gave the same order.
He said in reply, ‘Yes, sir, ‘but did not go.
Which of the two did his father’s will?”
They answered, “The first.”
Jesus said to them, “Amen, I say to you,
tax collectors and prostitutes
are entering the kingdom of God before you.
When John came to you in the way of righteousness,
you did not believe him;
but tax collectors and prostitutes did.
Yet even when you saw that,
you did not later change your minds and believe him.

Matthew 21: 28-32

 

We sometimes do not appreciate the power of a Bible text due to a lack of historical knowledge.  That is the case where Jesus notes that repentant tax collectors and prostitutes were entering the Kingdom before the chief priests and elders.  The shocking nature of this statement would have been immense to those who heard Jesus.  For the Jews of the time of Jesus family and ritual purity were everything.  A harlot was severed from her family and her paid fornications made her unclean and everyone who had the slightest contact with her unclean.  The destruction of the Temple by the Romans was blamed in the Talmud upon widespread prostitution and the same prostitution was regarded as a sign that the Messiah would soon come.  That the Messiah would allow prostitutes into His presence would have seemed to many pious Jews as a sick parody of their beliefs.

As for tax collectors, well, I doubt if “revenuers” have ever been popular people in any society.  However, tax collectors were especially hated by the Jews as collaborators with the Romans and parasites who ground the substance of their fellow Jews for the benefit of their occupiers.  The Romans sold the rights to collect taxes throughout their empire to syndicates.  These syndicates, often with powerful Senators as silent partners, would then have the right to collect taxes from the subject populations in a region.  The more they could wrench from people usually living at a subsistence level, the higher their profit margin.  Thus tax collectors like Matthew earned an enmity far greater than our term tax collector can convey.

Jesus highlighted the unlikely converts He was making in order to demonstrate the power of the grace He was bringing and the terrible misunderstanding of the Jewish religious establishment of what God demanded for salvation.  The Gospels seem so familiar to us that we fail to understand how shocking they often are, a shock that was fully intended by Christ.

 

15

Idiot Leftist Attacks Melania Trump For Donating Dr. Seuss Books

One of the features most amusing about SJWs is that they take vast pride in their erudition while being bone ignorant of basic facts:

It began with a seemingly-innocuous gift:

To celebrate “National Read a Book Day,” the first lady [Melania Trump] had sent out a collection of 10 Dr. Seuss books to one school in each state across the nation. The titles included: “The Cat in the Hat”; “One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish”; “Wacky Wednesday”; “Green Eggs and Ham”; and “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!”

She followed in the footsteps of her predecessor, Michelle Obama, who often read Dr. Seuss books to children. Former first ladies Hillary Clinton and Barbara Bush also read to children at Dr. Seuss-themed educational events.

So far so good, right? One would think that this would be a relatively non-controversial, non-political act—with bipartisan agreement, as it were, since Dr. Seuss seems to have been given the Michelle Obama and Hillary Clinton seals of approval—but if one thought that, one would think wrong.

Enter snippy, condescending social justice warrior Liz Phipps Soeiro:

Liz Phipps Soeiro, a librarian at a public school in Cambridge, wrote a letter to the first lady, which was then published on The Horn Book blog, notifying Mrs. Trump that her school would “not be keeping the titles” for their collection, explaining that her school didn’t have a “NEED” for the books, due to her school and library’s “award-winning” status.

“I work in a district that has plenty of resources, which contributes directly to ‘excellence,’” Soeiro wrote. “My students have access to a school library with over nine thousand volumes and a librarian with a graduate degree in library science.”

Might that highly-degreed librarian be none other than Ms. Soeiro herself? What a terrible insult from Melania Trump! And that’s not all; oh no, Soeiro was just getting warmed up:

Soeiro went on to slam the White House and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos for not gifting the books to “underfunded and underprivileged communities,” which she suggested “continue to be marginalized” by DeVos’ policies.

But Soeiro seemed to be the most offended by the books themselves.

In what way do these Dr. Seuss books offend? Ms. Soeiro explains:

Dr. Seuss’s illustrations are steeped in racist propaganda, caricatures, and harmful stereotypes,” said Phipps Soeiro in her letter to the first lady, calling Seuss “a bit of a cliché, a tired and worn ambassador for children’s literature.” “Open one of his books (‘If I Ran a Zoo or And to Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street,’ for example), and you’ll see the racist mockery in his art.”

I’ve read many a Dr. Seuss book in my day, and loved them (although I’m not familiar with those two; my favorites were and are Horton Hatches the Egg and Happy Birthday To You, as well as Hop on Pop and Green Eggs and Ham). My son loved them, too.

 

Go here to Neo-NeoCon to read the rest.  Now the hilarious aspect of this is that Theodor Seuss Geisel, Dr. Seuss, was a lifelong leftist and Ms. Soeiro is oblivious to that fact.  Go here for a good summary of the political messages contained within his works.

 

 

The better informed President Obama lauded Dr. Seuss:

 

All hail the SWJs and their constant struggle to bring unintentional humor into contemporary life.

MacArthur Farewell Speech

A week after being relieved as Supreme Commander in Korea, General Douglas MacArthur on April 19, 1951 gave his farewell speech to Congress.  Widely perceived as starting MacArthur’s run for the White House, this was not to be, the General being as unskilled in politics as he was skilled in War.  Like the man, the speech is a queer mixture of the 19th and 21rst centuries.  19th century in its style, delivered by a man who ranks with Churchill as one of the last great practitioners of the orator’s art from that century of great oratory.  21rst century in its content:  its focus on the Pacific, the strategic importance of the Orient for America’s future.  When the speech is recalled, it is remembered for MacArthur’s old soldier fading away.  The speech deserves much more attention than that, and here is the text of the speech:

 

 

Mr. President, Mr. Speaker, and Distinguished Members of the Congress:

I stand on this rostrum with a sense of deep humility and great pride — humility in the wake of those great American architects of our history who have stood here before me; pride in the reflection that this forum of legislative debate represents human liberty in the purest form yet devised. Here are centered the hopes and aspirations and faith of the entire human race. I do not stand here as advocate for any partisan cause, for the issues are fundamental and reach quite beyond the realm of partisan consideration. They must be resolved on the highest plane of national interest if our course is to prove sound and our future protected. I trust, therefore, that you will do me the justice of receiving that which I have to say as solely expressing the considered viewpoint of a fellow American.

I address you with neither rancor nor bitterness in the fading twilight of life, with but one purpose in mind: to serve my country. The issues are global and so interlocked that to consider the problems of one sector, oblivious to those of another, is but to court disaster for the whole. While Asia is commonly referred to as the Gateway to Europe, it is no less true that Europe is the Gateway to Asia, and the broad influence of the one cannot fail to have its impact upon the other. There are those who claim our strength is inadequate to protect on both fronts, that we cannot divide our effort. I can think of no greater expression of defeatism. If a potential enemy can divide his strength on two fronts, it is for us to counter his effort. The Communist threat is a global one. Its successful advance in one sector threatens the destruction of every other sector. You can not appease or otherwise surrender to communism in Asia without simultaneously undermining our efforts to halt its advance in Europe.

Beyond pointing out these general truisms, I shall confine my discussion to the general areas of Asia. Before one may objectively assess the situation now existing there, he must comprehend something of Asia’s past and the revolutionary changes which have marked her course up to the present. Long exploited by the so-called colonial powers, with little opportunity to achieve any degree of social justice, individual dignity, or a higher standard of life such as guided our own noble administration in the Philippines, the peoples of Asia found their opportunity in the war just past to throw off the shackles of colonialism and now see the dawn of new opportunity, a heretofore unfelt dignity, and the self-respect of political freedom.

Mustering half of the earth’s population, and 60 percent of its natural resources these peoples are rapidly consolidating a new force, both moral and material, with which to raise the living standard and erect adaptations of the design of modern progress to their own distinct cultural environments. Whether one adheres to the concept of colonization or not, this is the direction of Asian progress and it may not be stopped. It is a corollary to the shift of the world economic frontiers as the whole epicenter of world affairs rotates back toward the area whence it started.

In this situation, it becomes vital that our own country orient its policies in consonance with this basic evolutionary condition rather than pursue a course blind to the reality that the colonial era is now past and the Asian peoples covet the right to shape their own free destiny. What they seek now is friendly guidance, understanding, and support — not imperious direction — the dignity of equality and not the shame of subjugation. Their pre-war standard of life, pitifully low, is infinitely lower now in the devastation left in war’s wake. World ideologies play little part in Asian thinking and are little understood. What the peoples strive for is the opportunity for a little more food in their stomachs, a little better clothing on their backs, a little firmer roof over their heads, and the realization of the normal nationalist urge for political freedom. These political-social conditions have but an indirect bearing upon our own national security, but do form a backdrop to contemporary planning which must be thoughtfully considered if we are to avoid the pitfalls of unrealism. Continue Reading

3

PopeWatch: Stand Up, Stand Up For Jesus

From the only reliable source of Catholic news on the net, Eye of the Tiber:

 

Catholics parishioners across the U.S. protested during the Our Father Sunday in defiance of Pope Francis, who said that parishioners who kneel during the “Lord’s Prayer” should be denied communion.

Many parishioners sat, kneeled, or stayed inside restrooms during the recitation of the Our Father, with some pastors encouraging parishioners to express themselves.

Demonstrations began Sunday when nearly two dozen parishioners of Our Lady of Good Counsel parish took a knee. Other laymen who chose to remain standing locked arms, as opposed to holding hands.

Seattle parishioners announced they would not participate in the anthem as a city, saying, “We will no longer stand for the crappy catechesis in this country. Out of love for our Church, and in honor of Christ’s sacrifice made on our behalf, we unite to oppose those that would deny our most basic religious instructions. We remain committed in continuing to work towards better homilies and for better motu proprios.” Continue Reading

Give Me That Old Time Religion

Something for the weekend.  Give Me That Old Time Religion.  The origins of this hymn are unknown.  Probably a black spiritual, its roots may go back to English folk songs.  It was popularized in 1873 by Charles Tillman and has remained a popular hymn among Protestants ever since.  The scene above from Sergeant York (1941) conveys the raw power of the hymn.  The National University of Taiwan chorus gives a stirring rendition:

 

8

The Pope and the Archangel

 

 

 

In 1947 Father Domenico Pechenino related what he had witnessed over six decades before.

“I do not remember the exact year. One morning the great Pope Leo XIII had celebrated a Mass and, as usual, was attending a Mass of thanksgiving. Suddenly, we saw him raise his head and stare at something above the celebrant’s head. He was staring motionlessly, without batting an eye. His expression was one of horror and awe; the colour and look on his face changing rapidly. Something unusual and grave was happening in him.

“Finally, as though coming to his senses, he lightly but firmly tapped his hand and rose to his feet. He headed for his private office. His retinue followed anxiously and solicitously, whispering: ‘Holy Father, are you not feeling well? Do you need anything?’ He answered: ‘Nothing, nothing.’ About half an hour later, he called for the Secretary of the Congregation of Rites and, handing him a sheet of paper, requested that it be printed and sent to all the ordinaries around the world. What was that paper? It was the prayer that we recite with the people at the end of every Mass. It is the plea to Mary and the passionate request to the Prince of the heavenly host, (St. Michael: Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle) beseeching God to send Satan back to hell.”

Cardinal Giovanni Batista Nassalli Rocca di Corneiliano wrote in his Pastoral Letters on Lent“the sentence ‘The evil spirits who wander through the world for the ruin of souls’ has a historical explanation that was many times repeated by his private secretary, Monsignor Rinaldo Angeli. Leo XIII truly saw, in a vision, demonic spirits who were congregating on the Eternal City (Rome). The prayer that he asked all the Church to recite was the fruit of that experience. He would recite that prayer with strong, powerful voice: we heard it many a time in the Vatican Basilica. Leo XIII also personally wrote an exorcism that is included in the Roman Ritual. He recommended that bishops and priests read these exorcisms often in their dioceses and parishes. He himself would recite them often throughout the day.”

The Prayer written by the Pope is of course the famous prayer to Saint Michael:

Sancte Michael Archangele,
defende nos in proelio;
contra nequitiam et insidias diaboli esto praesidium.
Imperet illi Deus, supplices deprecamur:
tuque, Princeps militiae Caelestis,
satanam aliosque spiritus malignos,
qui ad perditionem animarum pervagantur in mundo,
divina virtute in infernum detrude.
Amen.
Continue Reading

10

PopeWatch: Fear

Father Z explains why more priests and clerics do not speak out about this mad pontificate:

 

My friend Fr. Ray Blake, PP of Brighton, has a stupendous post today about FEAR.   HERE  He was asked to sign the Correctio Filialis and he writes openly about his fear of reprisals if he does so.

He is right to be afraid.  The question is, how shall we move forward, intelligently, and do the right thing even though we are in peril?

Here is some of Fr. Blake’s piece with my usual additions.

To Sign or Not to Sign

I have been asked to sign the Filial Correction, I signed the letter of the 45 academics and pastors last year, and almost immediately found Cardinal Nichols’ tanks parked on my lawn to inform me of his displeasure, which was quite mild unlike other lay signatories, who were sacked from their jobs in Catholic institutions for their pains, Dr. Josef Seifertis being the most high profile. I admit it, I am afraid to sign and I know other priests who share my fear. Many of those who might have signed have in the last four years have a certain fear about their place in the Church.

Rome and those surrounding the Pontiff have certainly become more vicious in defending him, never ever engaging in intellectual arguments, merely attacking like ravenous wolves or child bullies those who pose questions. The climate is bad throughout the Church, in Rome it is positively toxic. [I can attest that this is true.  Rome is like… a WWI field full of trenches with creeping yellow gas.] Under Francis the Vatican has become a place of fear and arbitrary oppression, there was a public glimpse of that in the sacking of Cdl Mueller by the Pope, and earlier in the dismissal of a couple of priests from the CDF and amongst laymen of Libero Milone, former Auditor General and many others. It is not just in theology that 2+2=5, or whatever number the Pope chooses that day, it extends to morality and ordinary human decency, ultimately it is a serious attack on the rationality of the Catholic faith and intellectual rigour. [In the name of being “pastoral” and “compassionate”.]

The abusive attacks on any one who asks legitimate filial questions or even of people like Cardinal Burke and the other “Dubia Cardinas” or even Cdls Sarah or Mueller  by the likes Austen Ivereigh, Rosica or Spadaro [Wile E., Beans, etc.] merely echo the statements of the notoriously immoderate Cardinal Madriaga the senior member of the Pope’s Council of Nine or the shocking insults always aimed at faithful Catholics by the Pope himself. Let us not even go to the shenanigans and manipulation surrounding the Synod on the Family

The men who rule the Church are not even in the worldly sense good, as the former Prefect of the CDF has said “power has become more important than truth”. It would be easy to dwell on the gay chem-sex parties hosted in the Vatican City itself and the advancement of those with a gay agenda, which produces apparently no reaction, not even a dismissal. In the matter of financial mismanagement and corruption, there appears to be window dressing masking inaction, John Allen seems to think this is the big issue above others. In fact, maybe because Francis centralises and 2+2 = whatever he decides, many of those in Rome suggest things have never been worse, a ‘kingdom of brigands’ as one former Nuncio described it.

Dioceses are not Rome but they do reflect Rome, Cardinals and bishops intimidate clergy and others who are faithful, if Francis has done anything it is to highlight a deep rift in the Church, marked by the quite extraordinary rise of an Ultramontane/Liberal faction against those who are faithful. Many bishops, who are often chosen for not for fidelity to Christ nor depth of learning nor moral fibre, not even their pastoral abilities but for their admin skills are quite happy to side with that faction which has power at the moment, moving Vicar of Bray-like from convinced Wojtylaians to Ratzingerians to Bergoglianians.

[…]

Read the rest over there. Continue Reading

19

De Mortuis Nihil Nisi Bonum: An Exception

Pornographer Hugh Hefner has died at 91.  His time had come and passed long ago.  Playboy magazine has been losing boatloads of money for some time, long ago superseded by ubiquitous internet porn.  It recently adopted the desperate tactic of losing nudity, before switching back to airbrushed nudes.  In his dotage Hefner came across as much more pathetic than evil, but evil he was.  Hefner produced pornography, and became wealthy doing it.  That is not unusual.  Pornography doubtless has been with us since a caveman scrawled a dirty picture on a cave wall.  No, Hefner’s contribution to evil was in mainstreaming it and making it appear respectable, thus being one of the fathers of the modern age in which sex, amputated from its procreative purpose, and stripped of romance, makes contemporary life akin to swimming in a cesspool.  This probably would have occurred without Hefner, but he rode the societal waves that produced it, championed it and took credit for it.  He thus earned his share of the blame for it.

Politically he was a completely conventional limousine  liberal and for decades inflicted his pretentious “Playboy philosophy”, which ranged from banal to jejune and back again, on the hapless fools who purchased his magazine for other purposes.    Hefner was a dullard who thought himself a genius and that always is too sad.  A wasted life, and that is a terrible crime indeed.

 

18

Communism: Next Time for Sure

 

“You will find that all the arguments in favor of king-craft were of this class; they always bestrode the necks of the people, not that they wanted to do it, but because the people were better off for being ridden. That is their argument, and this argument of the Judge is the same old serpent that says you work and I eat, you toil and I will enjoy the fruits of it.”

Abraham Lincoln, July 10, 1858

 

 

Dave Griffey at Daffey Thoughts takes a look at the eternal optimism of the Left when it comes to Communism:

 

A love letter to Chairman Mao from the Gray Lady

 

Yep.  The Left is Communism. I hope we’re straight on that now.  The Left, in its modern incarnation, has always been about Communism. From those blacklisted Hollywood advocates, like Dalton Trumbo, who were proud Communists, to the Communist driven anti-Americanism of the 50s and after, to the emerging pro-Marxist, neo-Communists of the post-liberal West, Communism is the goal.  The dream.  The end game.

Compare this, for instance, to racism.  There’s no end game to racism. Has anyone ever bothered to ask just when our country will officially be ‘over’ its racist past?  Just what is it America can do to stop being called a ‘racist nation’?  What is the end game?  Racist thinking outlawed?  White Americans exterminated?  All racist thinking punishable by death?  The complete eradication of America’s entire history?  What is the end game?  What will it look like when we finally say, “Truly, America is no longer a racist nation”?  When only 8% identify as racist?  2%?  3.82384%?  When we elect a Black president?  Find me an answer, and I’ll recant this entire post.

Let’s be honest, there is no end game where racism is concerned.  By now it should be obvious the point of stirring up racist divisions is merely a ploy to tear away at the fabric of America; to burn its foundations to the ground so out of the ashes it can be built upon by yet another Communist inspired, leftist state.  That’s why it’s gold.  That’s not to say there never was, or isn’t, racism.  But that’s not why it’s important to keep the racist embers burning.  It will always be there, and until the Communist end game is established, it will always be useful for sowing divisions and spreading discord between Americans.  Discord is crucial for revolutions, as I’m sure we’re all aware.

The New York Times does a little preemptive housecleaning in preparation.  One of the problems with Communism is, of course, it’s track record.  Oh, it’s not that there aren’t Leftists, including Catholics, more than happy to crunch the numbers and prove that America is the most evil, murderous country in history. 

Nonetheless, that still leaves us with the fact that, even if we concede the Satanic spawn that is America, Communist societies have done no better.  The body count is in the tens of millions.  An entire century of terror and tyranny, failed economies, nationwide cesspools of poverty and misery, aren’t easy to overcome.

Enter the NYT.  Oh, they still acknowledge there were a few rough spots in China’s Communist revolution.  But does that mean the good be overlooked?  For assistance:

For all its flaws, the Communist revolution taught Chinese women to dream big. When it came to advice for my mother, my grandmother applauded her daughter’s decision to go to graduate school and urged her to find a husband who would be supportive of her career. She still seems to think that the new market economy — with its meritocracy and freedom of choice — will finally allow women to be masters of their minds and actions.

Note that.  Sure there were some bad points.  Its “flaws.”  But let’s not overlook the good!  Try doing that with the Nazis (sure they had their ‘flaws’, but they did build a splendid highway system!).  Or heck, most recently, the Confederates.  Forget it.  They were evil, wretched, irredeemable.  Their existence needs eradicated from all public displays.

But Communist China?  Where people are still rounded up and executed, tortured and imprisoned for bucking the goverment?  Where people still live in squalor and oppression?  Where people still try to escape to other lands (like America)?  Let’s not be hasty.  There’s some good to be seen there.

I know, it sounds a little crazy Archie Bunker commie pinko conspiracy theory.  But let’s face it, knowing that those who want this won’t admit it, how else can you refute what I’ve written?  Step back and look at the big picture.  You might be surprised to see how far we’ve come.

Continue Reading

3

PopeWatch: Negative Stereotypes

The Pope is concerned that people simply do not want illegal aliens colonizing their homelands:

 

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis on Wednesday launched a two-year education campaign about the plight of migrants to counteract mounting anti-immigrant sentiment in the U.S. and Europe, urging the world: “Don’t be afraid!”

Francis posed for selfies, shook hands, kissed babies and hugged migrants at the end of his weekly general audience, teaching by example that “others” are not to be feared but embraced.

The campaign, spearheaded by the Vatican’s Caritas charity, encourages people to meet with migrants and listen to their stories, rather than treat them as statistics clouded by negative stereotypes. Continue Reading

11

Roy Moore Wins

West Point grad, Vietnam Vet, and former Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, Roy Moore, decisively beat incumbent Luther Strange in the Republican primary and will now go to the general election in Alabama on December 12 against Democrat Doug Jones.  The Democrats haven’t won a Senate race in Alabama since 1992.

Trump endorsed Strange and campaigned for him, but Moore, an unconventional politician to say the least, seems more in the Trumpian mode of being outside of conventional politics.  Moore was heavily supported by Breitbart chief Steve Bannon, in a slap against his former boss.   As a trial judge in Alabama Moore successfully defended his right to keep a copy of the Ten Commandments on the wall of his courtroom.

He was elected Alabama Chief Justice in 2000 in an upset election.  Removed from office in 2003 due to clashes with Federal Judges, he was re-elected in 2012.  (In each of his elections Moore has been heavily outspent by his adversaries, usually five to six to one.  In the current election he just won he was outspent fifteen to one.)  In 2016 Moore defied the Supreme Court’s gay marriage ruling, and for his was suspended from office.  He resigned to run for  the Senate.

Moore has been a building political force in Alabama for decades, and I expect him to crush the Democrat in December.  The Senate will be a livelier place with him.

 

11

PopeWatch: Debate?

Some fanboys and girls of the Pope are taking the Filial Correction of the Pope as a joke.  It is not:

 

To resolve the impasse between Pope Francis and those who have grave reservations about his teaching, Cardinal Gerhard Müller has proposed that one solution to this “serious situation” could be for the Holy Father to appoint a group of cardinals that would begin a “theological disputation” with his critics.

In comments to the Register Sept. 26, the prefect emeritus of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith said such an initiative could be conducted with “some prominent representatives” of the dubia, as well as the filial correction which was made public on Sunday.

Cardinal Müller said a theological disputation, a formalized method of debate designed to uncover and establish truths in theology, would be specifically about “the different and sometimes controversial interpretations of some statements in Chapter 8 of Amoris Laetitia” — Francis’ apostolic exhortation on marriage and the family.

The Church needs “more dialogue and reciprocal confidence” rather than “polarization and polemics,” he continued, adding that the Successor of St. Peter “deserves full respect for his person and divine mandate, and on the other hand his honest critics deserve a convincing answer.”

“We must avoid a new schism and separations from the one Catholic Church, whose permanent principle and foundation of its unity and communion in Jesus Christ is the current pope, Francis, and all bishops in full communion with him,” he said. Continue Reading

19

PopeWatch: Why No Cardinals

Why did no cardinals sign the petition for filial correction of the Pope?  Apparently that was by design:

 

 

After the release of the historic ‘filial correction’ to the Pope on the weekend, many concerned Catholics have wondered why no Cardinals attached their name.

Cardinal Raymond Burke in particular has been very public about a coming “formal correction” from cardinals after Pope Francis failed to respond to their call to clarify Amoris Laetitia.

So why didn’t he or others sign this “filial correction”?

The basic answer is that the scholars and pastors behind the initiative chose not to ask any cardinals to join them.

“We wanted this to be an independent initiative,” spokesman Dr. Joseph Shaw told LifeSiteNews. “We made the decision not to include the Cardinals.”

Shaw wishes to squelch any rumours – he has seen some on social media – that there were prelates working behind the scenes. “We want to make it absolutely clear that Cardinal Burke is not behind this initiative,” he said.

The primary reason for not asking the cardinals to sign the document was prudence. “It’s not practical to expect any Cardinal to sign any document of this nature,” said Shaw, “because it comes too close to the person of the Pope.”

Shaw, a Fellow of St. Benet’s Hall, Oxford University, contrasted the 25-page Correction to the short dubia sent to Pope Francis by Cardinals Brandmüller, Burke, Caffara and Meisner in 2016. Shaw praised the dubia letter for its “simplicity” and expressions of fidelity to the Pope. He explained that a Cardinal would not readily sign off on a theological document as complex and serious as the Filial Correction written by anyone but himself.

“The more senior [churchmen] are, the more careful they will want to be with the wording,” said Shaw. “They will want brevity.”

READ MORE: Over 60 scholars correct Pope Francis for ‘propagating heresies’

In Shaw’s view, theologians and pastors have more freedom than prelates to lay out the arguments against Amoris Laetitia and its problems. Meanwhile, the way the Filial Correction is set out “should be helpful to a wide variety of Catholics.”

Of course, the document was originally meant for an audience of one. The Filial Correction was sent to Rome six weeks ago and, Shaw told LifeSiteNews, was handed to Pope Francis personally in Casa Santa Marta. The signers received no answer.

“If Pope Francis had responded, we would have entered into another kind of conversation,” said Shaw. “So now we are including the Catholic faithful.”

Shaw knows the media is interested in who signed and how many signed, but he says that the number of signers of the Fraternal Correction is not the point. The important issue is the arguments presented. That is why the signers are all scholars or pastors.

“The way the Church develops things is in accordance with [theological] arguments,” Shaw explained. “There is development because the leading arguments have prevailed.”  He pointed out that people argued over the dogma of the Immaculate Conception for centuries. “It’s very important that the arguments be made,” Shaw stressed.

The Filial Correction was written by a core group from among the signatories who showed it to other scholars and pastors for their comments and contributions. It was revised many times before it was signed and sent. Continue Reading

6

Stalin is Still Dead

Strong language advisory as to the below video:

 

 

I have long thought that there was a hilarious dark comedy waiting to be written about the power struggle that occurred in the Soviet Union after the death of Stalin.  His daughter described his dying which took several days:

“Father’s death was slow and difficult…. His face became dark and different… his features were becoming unrecognizable…. The death agony was terrible. It choked him slowly as we watched… At the last moment he suddenly opened his eyes. It was a horrible look — either mad, or angry and full of fear of death…. Suddenly he raised his left hand and sort of either pointed up somewhere, or shook his finger at us all… The next moment his soul, after one last effort, broke away from his body.”

The film is coming out on October 20, and judging from the trailer it looks rather historically accurate.  Stalin’s death began a long chain of events that ended with the fall of the Soviet Union.  A fitting “celebration” of the centennial of the October Revolution.

17

The Left and Instapundit Remind Us of Why Trump is President

WALL STREET JOURNAL: The Politicization Of Everything.

Healthy democracies have ample room for politics but leave a larger space for civil society and culture that unites more than divides. With the politicization of the National Football League and the national anthem, the Divided States of America are exhibiting a very unhealthy level of polarization and mistrust.

The progressive forces of identity politics started this poisoning of America’s favorite spectator sport last year by making a hero of Colin Kaepernick for refusing to stand for “The Star-Spangled Banner” before games. They raised the stakes this year by turning him into a progressive martyr because no team had picked him up to play quarterback after he opted out of his contract with the San Francisco 49ers.

The NFL is a meritocracy, and maybe coaches and general managers thought he wasn’t good enough for the divisions he might cause in a locker room or among fans. But the left said it was all about race and class.

All of this is cultural catnip for Donald Trump, who pounced on Friday night at a rally and on the weekend on Twitter with his familiar combination of gut political instinct, rhetorical excess, and ignorance. “Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now, out, he’s fired. He’s fired,’” Mr. Trump said Friday.

No doubt most Americans agree with Mr. Trump that they don’t want their flag disrespected, especially by millionaire athletes. But Mr. Trump never stops at reasonable, and so he called for kneeling players to be fired or suspended, and if the league didn’t comply for fans to “boycott” the NFL.

Well, Trump’s got his opponents arguing against the National Anthem, so maybe he’s not as dumb as you think. But whenever you wonder why we’re in a situation where Trump’s driving this sort of narrative, remember that we got Trump because the respectable political class did such a sorry job that there was an opening for Trump.

 

Continue Reading

9

PopeWatch: Filial Correction

Edward Pentin at National Catholic Register brings us the latest development in this bizarre ponitificate:

 

 

A group of clergy and lay scholars from around the world have taken the very rare step of presenting Pope Francis with a formal filial correction, accusing him of propagating heresies concerning marriage, the moral life, and reception of the sacraments.

Entitled Correctio filialis de haeresibus propagatis, meaning ‘A Filial Correction Concerning the Propagation of Heresies,’ the 25 page letter was delivered to the Holy Father at his Santa Marta residence on Aug. 11.

The Pope has so far not responded to the initiative, whose 62 signatories include the German intellectual Martin Mosebach, former president of the Vatican Bank, Ettore Gotti Tedeschi, and the superior general of the Society of St. Pius X, Bishop Bernard Fellay (he learned of the document only after it had been delivered to the Pope and signed it on behalf of the Society).

The letter begins by saying that with “profound grief but moved by fidelity to our Lord Jesus Christ, by love for the Church and for the papacy, and by filial devotion toward yourself” the signatories feel “compelled” to take this action “on account of the propagation of heresies.”

They cite in particular Francis’ apostolic exhortation on marriage and the family, Amoris Laetitia, and “other words, deeds and omissions.”

They accuse the Pope of upholding seven heretical positions about “marriage, the moral life, and the reception of the sacraments” which, they say, has “caused these heretical opinions to spread in the Catholic Church.”

The clergy and scholars “respectfully insist” that Pope Francis condemn the heresies that he has directly or indirectly upheld, and that he teach the truth of the Catholic faith in its integrity.

The filial correction, the first to be made of a reigning Pontiff since Pope John XXII was admonished in 1333, is divided into three main parts. Continue Reading

9

And At the Hour of Our Death

 

 

 

Jesus told his disciples this parable:
“The kingdom of heaven is like a landowner
who went out at dawn to hire laborers for his vineyard.
After agreeing with them for the usual daily wage,
he sent them into his vineyard.
Going out about nine o’clock,
the landowner saw others standing idle in the marketplace,
and he said to them, ‘You too go into my vineyard,
and I will give you what is just.’
So they went off.
And he went out again around noon,
and around three o’clock, and did likewise.
Going out about five o’clock,
the landowner found others standing around, and said to them,
‘Why do you stand here idle all day?’
They answered, ‘Because no one has hired us.’
He said to them, ‘You too go into my vineyard.’
When it was evening the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman,
‘Summon the laborers and give them their pay,
beginning with the last and ending with the first.’
When those who had started about five o’clock came,
each received the usual daily wage.
So when the first came, they thought that they would receive more,
but each of them also got the usual wage.
And on receiving it they grumbled against the landowner, saying,
‘These last ones worked only one hour,
and you have made them equal to us,
who bore the day’s burden and the heat.’
He said to one of them in reply,
‘My friend, I am not cheating you.
Did you not agree with me for the usual daily wage?
Take what is yours and go.
What if I wish to give this last one the same as you?
Or am I not free to do as I wish with my own money?
Are you envious because I am generous?’
Thus, the last will be first, and the first will be last.”

Matthew 20: 1-16

 

Imagine the rage in Hell when a sinner escapes into the arms of God at the last moment.  He has laughed at God, ignored Him, perhaps even denied His existence, and then on his death bed he eagerly receives the Last Rites and repents with tears and a humble heart.  Being creatures of the everlasting now that is eternity, time must seem strange to the fallen angels we know as demons.  For us Men time is as natural to us as water to a fish, but to demons it must seem very strange indeed.  Even stranger is our ability while in time to change our minds.  The Fallen Angels gave their allegiance to Lucifer in eternity and for them there is no repentance, no changing of mind, just as unfallen angels would never waiver in their allegiance to God.

Being creatures of time and of limited intellects, with a brief mortal life, we are ever learning and changing, for good or ill.  The striking imagery of Christ mirrors the way in which the gift of Faith can come at us in so many different periods of our lives, with all receiving the sublime reward of eternal salvation.  The Good Thief, with his last moment faith in Christ, is striking evidence that while there is life there is ever hope from our merciful God.

It is my personal belief that God extends to us each a rope of salvation when our end is coming near, perhaps especially to those of us farthest from Him, if we only have the wit to grasp it.  May we all have a Happy Death and meet in the Kingdom of Love Eternal after our allotted time here below is done.  However let us not presume upon the mercy of God.  Let us go to confession, repent in humility and be ever prepared for our day in the vineyard of the Lord to come to a sudden close.  May we experience what CS Lewis so movingly depicts in the conclusion of his The Screwtape Letters:

 

The more one thinks about it, the worse it becomes. He got through so easily! No gradual misgivings, no doctor’s sentence, no nursing home, no operating theatre, no false hopes of life; sheer, instantaneous liberation. One moment it seemed to be all our world; the scream of bombs, the fall of houses, the stink and taste of high explosive on the lips and in the lungs, the feet burning with weariness, the heart cold with horrors, the brain reeling, the legs aching; next moment all this was gone, gone like a bad dream, never again to be of any account. Defeated, out-manœuvred fool! Did you mark how naturally—as if he’d been born for it—the earthborn vermin entered the new life? How all his doubts became, in the twinkling of an eye, ridiculous? I know what the creature was saying to itself! “Yes. Of course. It always was like this. All horrors have followed the same course, getting worse and worse and forcing you into a kind of bottle-neck till, at the very moment when you thought you must be crushed, behold! you were out of the narrows and all was suddenly well. The extraction hurt more and more and then the tooth was out. The dream became a nightmare and then you woke. You die and die and then you are beyond death. How could I ever have doubted it?

As he saw you, he also saw Them. I know how it was. You reeled back dizzy and blinded, more hurt by them than he had ever been by bombs. The degradation of it!—that this thing of earth and slime could stand upright and converse with spirits before whom you, a spirit, could only cower. Perhaps you had hoped that the awe and strangeness of it would dash his joy. But that is the cursed thing; the gods are strange to mortal eyes, and yet they are not strange. He had no faintest conception till that very hour of how they would look, and even doubted their existence. But when he saw them he knew that he had always known them and realised what part each one of them had played at many an hour in his life when he had supposed himself alone, so that now he could say to them, one by one, not “Who are you?” but “So it was you all the time”. All that they were and said at this meeting woke memories. The dim consciousness of friends about him which had haunted his solitudes from infancy was now at last explained; that central music in every pure experience which had always just evaded memory was now at last recovered. Recognition made him free of their company almost before the limbs of his corpse became quiet. Only you were left outside.

He saw not only Them; he saw Him. This animal, this thing begotten in a bed, could look on Him. What is blinding, suffocating fire to you, is now cool light to him, is clarity itself, and wears the form of a Man. You would like, if you could, to interpret the patient’s prostration in the Presence, his self-abhorrence and utter knowledge of his sins (yes, Wormwood, a clearer knowledge even than yours) on the analogy of your own choking and paralysing sensations when you encounter the deadly air that breathes from the heart of Heaven. But it’s all nonsense. Pains he may still have to encounter, but they embrace those pains. They would not barter them for any earthly pleasure. All the delights of sense, or heart, or intellect, with which you could once have tempted him, even the delights of virtue itself, now seem to him in comparison but as the half nauseous attractions of a raddled harlot would seem to a man who hears that his true beloved whom he has loved all his life and whom he had believed to be dead is alive and even now at his door. He is caught up into that world where pain and pleasure take on transfinite values and all our arithmetic is dismayed.

 

 

2

Mormon Long March

 

One of the oddest episodes in American military history occurred during the Mexican War.  In 1846 the Mormons were beginning their epic trek West which would end with their carving a Mormon Zion out of the wilderness in what is now Utah.  The Mormons, realizing they would need at least tacit Federal approval to accomplish this, sent representatives to Washington.  The Polk administration asked for a quid pro quo.  The Federal government would render assistance if a battalion of Mormons would enlist to fight in the Mexican War.  Brigham Young readily agreed, and a battalion was raised after much cajoling by Young, due to the suspicion of most Mormons of the Federal government as a result of Federal indifference to the persecution of Mormons in Illinois and Missouri.

 

 

Along with the approximately 500 men, the Battalion was accompanied by 30 Mormon women, 23 of whom served as laundresses, and 51 children.  The Mormons were mustered into the Army on July 16, 1846.  They were assigned to the Army of the West under General Kearney, a tough regular.  From Fort Leavenworth on August 30, 1846, the Mormon Battalion made the longest infantry march in US military history, 1900 miles to San Diego, California which they reached on January 29, 1847.  The Battalion captured Tuscon, Arizona on the way to California, but saw no fighting, although the harsh climate and terrain they marched through more than made up for the absence of human adversaries. Continue Reading

1

PopeWatch: That 70’s Show

From the only reliable source of Catholic news on the net, Eye of the Tiber:

 

 

USCCB spokesman, Bishop Roger Belvedere confirmed this week that any Catholic organization attempting to make themselves appear current will be suppressed, as “anything that appears technologically modern is directly contrary to the Holy Spirit.”

“Everything from websites to event flyers to marketing materials will be monitored and under careful scrutiny beginning this week,” Belvedere told the press. “In addition, we will soon begin the process of purging the world of the small amount of visually appealing Catholic publicity that already exists. We estimate that this process should take us no more than about half an hour to complete.”

Going on to give instructions for Catholic web designers and graphic artists, Belvedere said that the mandate will seek to make sure that all design work, whether in media or in print must have a distastefully low white-space-to-text ratio, a mandatory rosary border on all print materials, and a reversal of any design changes made after 1996.

“If we see a single Catholic logo that does not include the color navy blue, let that organization be anathema. Also, flowers—we need to see more flowers. Web designers, bonus points if flowers appear to fall from the top of a web page when opened.”

One Vatican insider told EOTT this morning that he was excited with the USCCB’s decision, and hoped that other countries would soon follow suit.

“To be honest, I’m relieved that they finally said something. Catholic organizations need to be better about distinguishing themselves from Protestants, who for the most part, have excelled in respect to design work. And since our Church has been around a lot longer than theirs, everything we do needs to look that much older.”

At press time, USCCB officials estimate that the new requirements are expected to affect less than one percent of Catholic groups. Continue Reading

How Ya Gonna Keep ’em Down On the Farm?

 

 

Something for the weekend.   How Ya Gonna Keep ’em Down On the Farm?  With music by Walter Donaldson and words by Joe Young and Sam M. Lewis, the humorous song became immensely popular in 1919, especially with troops awaiting demobilization.  The song reflected a real concern among parents and wives that their doughboys would come back changed men.  Well, they did, but most of them resumed their former lives with little fuss or bother. Continue Reading

3

Belated Speak Like a Pirate Day

 

To all pirates I have but one thing to say:  amateurs.

Donald R. McClarey

 

 

(Ah, me hearties, I am gob struck that I forgot that Tuesday twas International Speak Like a Pirate Day!  Me humble apologies!)

 

 

 

 

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Pirate Gettysburg Address

 

 

 

Ar, it be about four score and seven years ago since our fathers made ye new nation, a liberty port for all hands from end to end, and dedicated t’ t’ truth that all swabs be created equal.

Now we be fightin’ a great ruckus, testin’ whether ye nation, or any nation so minted like it, can last through the long watch. We be met on a great boardin’ fight o’ that war. We have come t’ dedicate a spot o’ that field, as a final restin’ place for those who here swallowed the anchor forever that that nation might live. It be altogether fittin’ and proper that we be doin’ this.

But, truth be told, we can not set aside, we can not pray over, we can not hallow this ground. T’ brave swabs, livin’ and went t’ Davy Jones’ locker, who fit here, have blessed it, far over our poor power t’ add or swipe back. T’ world won’t writ what we say here, but it can never forget what those swabs did here. It be for us t’ livin’, rather, t’ be dedicated here t’  finishin’ t’ work which they who fit here have begun.   It be rather for us t’ be here dedicated t’ t’ great chore remainin’ before us—that from these honored swabs we take increased love t’ what they died for—that we here Bible swear that these shipmates shall not have went t’ Davy Jones’ locker for nothin’—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth o’ freedom—and that government o’ t’ crew, by t’ crew, for t’ crew, shall not perish from t’ seven seas. Continue Reading

19

PopeWatch: Lavender Mafia

Father Z reminds us that perhaps the most powerful element among the powers that be at the Vatican is the Lavender Mafia:

 

At the Jesuit-operated organ Amerika I saw on 18 September an op-ed by San Diego’s (Berkeley Jesuit trained) Bishop Robert McElroy:

Bishop McElroy: Attacks on Father James Martin expose a cancer within the U.S. Catholic Church

The “C” word.  No, that’s not dramatic. But, hey, he got your attention.

Let’s have a look at His Excellency’s piece with my usual emphases and comments.

Father James Martin is a distinguished Jesuit author who has spent his life building bridges within the Catholic Church and between the church and the wider world. He has been particularly effective in bringing the Gospel message to the millennial generation. When we survey the vast gulf that exists between young adults and the church in the United States, it is clear that there could be no more compelling missionary outreach for the future of Catholicism than the terrain that Father Martin has passionately and eloquently pursued over the past two decades. There are few evangelizers who have engaged that terrain with more heart and skill and devotion.  [We are not going to admit the premise that that there is a “vast gulf that exists between young adults and the church” in the traditional community. As one writer put it recently, tradition is for the young.  In one “old Mass” community after another, you find a predominance of young people, growing in numbers with new families. While some promote this sort of outreach, others promote outreach through defending homosexuality.]

Last year Father Martin undertook a particularly perilous project in this work of evangelization: building bridges between the church and the L.G.B.T. community in the United States. He entered it knowing that the theological issues pertaining to homosexuality constituted perhaps the most volatile element of ecclesial life in U.S. culture.  [To me, “evangelization” includes the content of our Catholic Faith.  If the bishop thinks that talking about homosexuality is perilous, I invite him to step into the shoes of those whom he is about to condemn and try the increasingly perilous activity of defending the Church’s doctrine on faith and morals.]

It was this very volatility that spurred Father Martin to write his new book Building a Bridge: How the Catholic Church and the L.G.B.T. Community Can Enter into a Relationship of Respect, Compassion and Sensitivity. Using a methodology that is fully consonant with Catholic teaching, [Is it? Is innuendo part of that methodology?  For example, when you look at the preview available through Amazon (they almost always provide a brief sample), after his dedication Martin has an “epigraph” citing Ps 139, “For it was you who formed my inner parts”.  This can be nothing other than the innuendo that people who have same-sex attraction are made that was by God, and, if they are made that way by God, then what they do is okay. In that “epitaph” Martin doesn’t say that, but his meaning is clear.] employing Scripture, the rich pastoral heritage of the church and an unadulterated realism [?] that makes clear both the difficulty and the imperative for establishing deeper dialogue, Father Martin opens a door for proclaiming that Jesus Christ and his church seek to embrace fully and immediately men and women in the L.G.B.T. community.

Building a Bridge is a serious book, [Janet Smith pointed out that it is pretty short, being “essentially an expanded talk”.  HERE] and any such work invites substantive criticism and dialogue. This is particularly true with a complex subject like the relationship of the L.G.B.T. community and the church. Many analyses of Father Martin’s arguments have pointed to important problems that do not have easy answers and to the reality that dialogue must always proceed both in respect and in truth.

But alongside this legitimate and substantive criticism of Father Martin’s book, there has arisen both in Catholic journals and on social media a campaign to vilify Father Martin, to distort his work, to label him heterodox, to assassinate his personal character and to annihilate both the ideas and the dialogue that he has initiated.  [Of course no one would want to do that.  No one would want to suggest that people who have different ideas are, for example, a disease involving abnormal cell growth.]

This campaign of distortion must be challenged and exposed for what it is—not primarily for Father Martin’s sake but because this cancer of vilification is seeping into the institutional life of the church. [Finally, we get to it.] Already, several major institutions have canceled Father Martin as a speaker. Faced with intense external pressures, these institutions have bought peace, but in doing so they have acceded to and reinforced a tactic and objectives that are deeply injurious to Catholic culture in the United States and to the church’s pastoral care for members of the L.G.B.T. communities. [We know that the Knights of the Holy Sepulcher begged off.  The national major seminary called Theological College at CUA begged off.  However, so did the Bishops of England and Wales, who found a way to beg off having Fr. Martin address Cafod.  These are not insignificant institutions.]

The concerted attack on Father Martin’s work has been driven by three impulses: homophobia, a distortion of fundamental Catholic moral theology and a veiled attack on Pope Francis and his campaign against judgmentalism in the church.

The attacks on Building a Bridge tap into long-standing bigotry within the church and U.S. culture against members of the L.G.B.T. community. The persons launching these attacks portray the reconciliation of the church and the L.G.B.T. community not as a worthy goal but as a grave cultural, religious and familial threat. Gay sexual activity is seen not as one sin among others but as uniquely debased to the point that L.G.B.T. persons are to be effectively excluded from the family of the church. Pejorative language and labels are deployed regularly and strategically. The complex issues of sexual orientation and its discernment in the life of the individual are dismissed and ridiculed.  [Go back through that and substitute the term “Tradition Loving Catholics” or “T.L.C.”, and make an appropriate adjustment.  That’s how the catholic Left treats the T.L.C. community.*  Also, while I think we all admit that we can all treat all people better, I must add that telling people that their sins are not sins is not a way to treat them well!]

The coordinated attack on Building a Bridge must be a wake-up call for the Catholic community to look inward and purge itself of bigotry against the L.G.B.T. community. [Interesting word choice: purge  What comes to mind immediately?  The German philosopher Paul de Lagarde wrote, “I have long been convinced that Jewry constitutes the cancer in all of our life; as Jews, they are strangers in any European state and as such they are nothing but spreaders of decay.” ] If we do not, we will build a gulf between the church and L.G.B.T. men and women and their families. Even more important, we will build an increasing gulf between the church and our God. [And if prelates of dioceses don’t embrace what St. John Paul II commanded by his Apostolic authority and show respect to traditional Catholics and give a wide and generous application of the legislation concerning traditional expressions of our liturgical worship, they are responsible for a widening gulf between the church and our God and will perhaps even contribute to real schism.]

[This is where I have some real concerns.] The second corrosive impulse of the campaign against Building a Bridge flows from a distortion of Catholic moral theology. The goal of the Catholic moral life is to pattern our lives after that of Jesus Christ. [Augustine reminds us that Christ, being perfect, isn’t the best model for us.  He recommended the lives of the saints.  But… let this pass.] We must model our interior and exterior selves on the virtues of faith, love, hope, mercy, compassion, integrity, sacrifice, prayerfulness, humility, prudence and more. One of these virtues is chastity. Chastity is a very important virtue of the Christian moral life. The disciple is obligated to confine genital sexual activity to marriage.

[You could hear this next word coming, right?] But chastity is not the central virtue in the Christian moral life. Our central call is to love the Lord our God with all our heart and to love our neighbor as ourselves. Many times, our discussions in the life of the church suggest that chastity has a singularly powerful role in determining our moral character or our relationship with God. It does not.  [Let’s be clear about this.  The Bishop just wrote that chastity, which “very important” does NOT have a “singularly powerful role” in determining our moral character or our relationship with God.]

This distortion of our faith [namely, that chastity has a “singularly powerful role”] cripples many of our discussions of sexuality in general and homosexuality in particular. [I think he means that we shouldn’t insist in our discussion that homosexuals abstain from same-sex acts.] The overwhelming prism [the things that project rainbows?] through which we should look at our moral lives is that we are all called to live out the virtues of Christ; [Okaaaaay.  Christ was chaste. Christ was not a homosexual.  Also, Christ’s exemplary display of virtue in Scripture did not exclude the flipping of tables and the whipping of people with cords.] we all succeed magnificently at some and fail at others. [I admit that I haven’t been good at whipping people with cords lately.] Those who emphasize the incompatibility of gay men or lesbian women living meaningfully within the church [WOAH!  Who says that?  That’s smacks of the proverbial straw man.] are ignoring the multidimensional nature of the Christian life of virtue or the sinfulness of us all or both.  [WOW.  There is a lot to unpack here.  As Janet Smith mentioned in her critic of James Martin’s “expanded talk”, it takes a lot of words to examine something that is briefly put.  I’ll comment further, below.]

The third impulse behind the campaign against Building a Bridge arises from a rejection of the pastoral theology that Pope Francis has brought into the heart of the church. Regarding the issue of homosexuality, in particular, many of those attacking Father Martin simply cannot forgive the Holy Father for uttering that historic phrase on the plane: “Who am I to judge?” The controversy over Building a Bridge is really a debate about whether we are willing to banish judgmentalism from the life of the church. Pope Francis continually reminds us that the Lord unceasingly called the disciples to reject the temptation to judge others, precisely because it is a sin so easy for us all to fall into and one so injurious to the life of the church. [I think we can dismiss this out of hand.  Criticisms of James Martin’s agenda have nothing to do with Pope Francis.  Gratis asseritur, gratis negatur.]

The gulf between the L.G.B.T. community and the church is not primarily based on orientation; it is a gulf created by judgmentalism on both sides. [No. We don’t accept this premise.  The gulf is not based on the orientation of homosexuals towards people of the same sex (which the CCC restates is “disordered”, and not just “different”.  The gulf is a matter of excusing or permitting or exalting homosexual acts.  And as far as both sides are concerned, I haven’t seen a lot of outreach from the other side.] That is the real starting point for a dialogue between the Catholic Church and the L.G.B.T. community in the United States today. Father Martin should be thanked for pointing to this reality, not shunned. [I don’t see how not being invited – or being dis-invited is “shunning”.  If that is the case, then I’ll be waiting for the Bishop’s article about how I’VE been treated recently by a certain important prelate with whom he is often grouped.]

 

Go here to read the rest.  Pope Francis embraces a wide range of Leftism, but it is striking how his appointees always have a common allegiance to normalizing relations with homosexual groups that have nothing but contempt for traditional Catholic sexual morality, and how nothing raises their ire more than those within the Church who do adhere to the traditional Church teaching regarding homosexual acts.  The same forces that produced predator priests and protective bishops have as their ultimate aim the Church embracing sexual perversion as normal and good.

 

 

3

Patton and the Tank: A Love Affair Begins

 

Through the mud and the blood to the green fields beyond.

Brigadier General Hugh Elles, Commander British Tank Corps, Battle of Cambrai

 

 

 

Captain George S. Patton was not a happy man.  A personal aide to General John J. Pershing, and in command of the Headquarters Company of the AEF, he lacked sufficient work for his vigorous mind and nature.  Writing to his wife he poured out his frustration:  “nothing but [a] hired flunky. I shall be glad to get back to the line again and will try to do so in the spring. These damn French are bothering us with a lot of details which have nothing to do with any- thing. I have a hard time keeping my patience.”  Pershing had promised him an eventual command in an infantry unit, but for a cavalry trooper like Patton that was a prospect he met with a decided lack of enthusiasm.

Tanks were a natural option, but surprisingly the tank initially aroused no enthusiasm in Patton.  “Tanks aren’t worth a damn” he had written in July 1917, and, indeed, the battlefield record of these primitive first steps in armored warfare were unimpressive.  Used in penny packets by commanders with no idea of how to utilize these newfangled gadget, manned by officers and men who did lack courage but did lack knowledge and skill, and suffering the birthing pangs of cutting edge technology in war, tanks had failed to make much impact thus far in the Great War.  In the months ahead that would all change at the Battle of Cambrai on November 20, 1917 when the massed use of 437 tanks led to an unprecedented advance on the Western Front and sent the church bells in Britain madly ringing.  The Germans counterattacked and took back most of the ground the British had gained before the battle sputtered out on December 7, 1917, but perceptive Germans saw that a new factor had entered into the conflict: Continue Reading

11

PopeWatch: His Answer

George Orwell would have found Pope Francis fascinating:

 

One year ago to this day, four Cardinals submitted five yes-or-no questions to Pope Francis asking him if his 2016 exhortation on marriage and the family — Amoris Laetitia — conforms to perennial Catholic teaching on marriage, moral absolutes, conscience, and the sacraments. 

The Pope has refused to answer their questions, despite the moral and pastoral chaos that ensued throughout the whole of Christendom as priests, bishops, and cardinals interpreted his teachings in completely contradictory ways. Some allowed civilly-divorced-and-remarried Catholics living in habitual adultery to receive Holy Communion. Some did not. 

Today, on the first anniversary of the dubia, has the Pope finally given his answer? It would seem so, though certainly not directly.

Let me explain. 

While the body of Cardinal Carlo Caffarra, one of the four dubia signers, has hardly been in the ground more than a week, the pope today announced he is abolishing the John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and the Family and replacing it with a new institute focused on implementing Amoris Laetitia.

Cardinal Caffarra was the founding president of the institute, overseeing it from its launch in 1981 until 1995. The institute was founded to be a center for scientific study in the fields of anthropology and Christocentric thought so as to address the crisis of marriage and the family within the Church. 

The institute has been faithful to perennial Catholic teaching. It even produced an excellent book titled Marriage: Theological and Pastoral Considerations in the lead-up to the recent Synods on the Family that faithfully and clearly put forward Catholic teaching on marriage and the sacraments.

Caffarra outlined what he called the “institute’s DNA” in a 2016 graduation address to the John Paul II Institute in Washington D.C. 

He said that the institute was founded to address a crisis where “the human person had lost awareness of himself, of the truth of his being a person, so that he no longer understood the truth of marriage; not only in the intellectual sense, but in the existential sense.”

“John Paul II establishes the relation between marriage and the human person by means of the philosophy and the theology of the body. This is the most precious heritage that he entrusted to the Institute. The Church lacked this theology and philosophy, and she still has not fully assimilated the wealth of insights contained in these teachings,” he said at the time. 

I was studying for a Ph.D at the John Paul II Institute for Marriage and Family in Australia a few years ago, before it was closed. I selected this school knowing that I would be formed in authentic Catholic teaching on all the hot-button issues of the day, including contraception, abortion, homosexuality, divorce, etc. My dissertation topic was on the morality behind using the naked human body in art and media. It was an intellectually rich time in my life for which I will be forever grateful. I, and many other faithful Catholics, have always viewed the institute as a lighthouse of orthodoxy. 

Caffarra outlined in his Washington D.C. talk how the institute was originally founded to especially reflect on the Church teaching against contraception as found in Pope Paul VI’s 1968 encyclical Humanae Vitae. 

“The Apostolic Constitution Magnum matrimonii sacramentum, the document which founded the Institute canonically, assigns as a specific task of the Institute the reflection on this Encyclical. This is the great theme of the truth about human procreation,” he said. 

“The Institute’s DNA, if we can say that, is therefore as follows: to discover the truth about marriage and the family, on the basis of an adequate anthropology, in order to help the husband and the wife to live fully their conjugal vocation,” he said.

Caffarra has not been dead two weeks and Pope Francis has already issued a Motu Proprio (by his own command) that destroys the John Paul II Institute’s DNA and replaces it with a DNA foreign to the institute’s original aim. That foreign DNA can be precisely summed up in the dubia submitted to the Pope by Caffarra and the other three Cardinals. 

What I find especially disturbing in this matter is that the Pope has gutted the institute while essentially keeping the institute’s name the same. All I could think of was George Orwell’s novel 1984 in which institutes are set up with beautiful-sounding names like the ‘Ministry of Truth,’ but which are actually agents of the ever-changing politically correct propaganda of the day. 

Pope Francis, in his Motu Proprio, says the newly reformed “John Paul II Pontifical Theological Institute for Marriage and Family Sciences” will be used as a platform to implement his teachings in Amoris Laetitia.  Continue Reading

1

September 20, 1860: Baron Renfrew Begins His Visit to the US

 

When my bride and I moved to Dwight, Illinois, in 1985 we purchased a house located only a few blocks from a 20 acre park, Renfrew Park.  This was good planning on our part.  When our kids made their appearance in the nineties, they loved playing in the park, and we have many fond family memories of fun there.  We quickly learned that the name of Renfrew Park commemorated the visit of British royalty to our little town in September 1860, just before the Civil War.

Prince Edward had been carefully brought up by his parents, perhaps too carefully.  Kept from free association with people outside of tutors and family, he viewed his trip to Canada and America in 1860 as a great adventure.  It was.  Edward was the first Prince of Wales to visit the United States.  He made a great impression with his affability and his gift for speaking to everyone, high and low, with friendly interest.  Officially traveling incognito as “Baron Renfrew”, one of the lesser titles of the Prince of Wales,  on the eve of the Civil War, he charmed almost all Americans he encountered, north and south, drawing huge crowds during his 2600 mile tour of the country from September 20, 1860-October 20, 1860.

One of his minor stops was the Village of Dwight at the beginning of his tour.  He visited a corn farm and then went prairie chicken hunting where Renfrew Park is now located.  The Prince enjoyed himself immensely and relished the rest he had from the huge crowds that came out to meet him in larger communities. Continue Reading

7

PopeWatch: The Pope Luther Was Looking For?

America, the Jesuit rag, published a fan letter from a liberal Lutheran who loves Pope Francis:

 

Dear Pope Francis,

Maybe you have heard: 2017 is a big year for Lutherans. Many are giddy with excitement as we commemorate the audacity of a certain 16th-century Augustinian monk, who on Oct. 31, 1517, nailed his 95 theses to a church door in Wittenberg. Fingers flutter across keyboards feverishly extolling or disputing Martin Luther’s contributions and flaws. But I—one who has marinated in American Lutheranism most of her life—find myself writing to you, the leader of the Roman Catholic Church.

Perhaps it is an odd moment for Lutheran fan mail. Yet, ever since you became the Bishop of Rome in 2013, I have become increasingly convinced that you are the pope that Luther was looking for 500 years ago. Here are four reasons why.

12

Trump UN Speech

 

President Trump was very undiplomatic in his speech at the UN:  he told the truth:

 

Mr. Secretary General, Mr. President, world leaders, and distinguished delegates, welcome to New York. It is a profound honor to stand here in my home city as a representative of the American people to address the people of the world. As millions of our citizens continue to suffer the effects of the devastating hurricanes that have struck our country, I want to begin by expressing my appreciation to every leader in this room who has offered assistance and aid. The American people are strong and resilient, and they will emerge from these hardships more determined than ever before.

Fortunately, the United States has done very well since Election Day last November 8. The stock market is at an all-time high, a record. Unemployment is at its lowest level in 16 years, and because of our regulatory and other reforms, we have more people working in the United States today than ever before. Companies are moving back, creating job growth, the likes of which our country has not seen in a very long time, and it has just been announced that we will be spending almost $700 billion on our military and defense. Our military will soon be the strongest it has ever been. For more than 70 years, in times of war and peace, the leaders of nations, movements, and religions have stood before this assembly.

Like them, I intend to address some of the very serious threats before us today, but also the enormous potential waiting to be unleashed. We live in a time of extraordinary opportunity. Breakthroughs in science, technology, and medicine are curing illnesses and solving problems that prior generations thought impossible to solve. But each day also brings news of growing dangers that threaten everything we cherish and value. Terrorists and extremists have gathered strength and spread to every region of the planet. Rogue regimes represented in this body not only support terror but threaten other nations and their own people with the most destructive weapons known to humanity.

Authority and authoritarian powers seek to collapse the values, the systems, and alliances, that prevented conflict and tilted the word toward freedom since World War II. International criminal networks traffic drugs, weapons, people, force dislocation and mass migration, threaten our borders and new forms of aggression exploit technology to menace our citizens. To put it simply, we meet at a time of both immense promise and great peril. It is entirely up to us whether we lift the world to new heights or let it fall into a valley of disrepair. We have it in our power, should we so choose, to lift millions from poverty, to help our citizens realize their dreams, and to ensure that new generations of children are raised free from violence, hatred, and fear.

This institution was founded in the aftermath of two world wars, to help shape this better future. It was based on the vision that diverse nations could cooperate to protect their sovereignty, preserve their security, and promote their prosperity. It was in the same period exactly 70 years ago that the United States developed the Marshall Plan to help restore Europe. Those these beautiful pillars, they are pillars of peace, sovereignty, security, and prosperity. The Marshall Plan was built on the noble idea that the whole world is safer when nations are strong, independent, and free. As president, Truman said in his message to Congress at that time, our support of European recovery is in full accord with our support of the United Nations.

The success of the United Nations depends upon the independent strength of its members. To overcome the perils of the present, and to achieve the promise of the future, we must begin with the wisdom of the past. Our success depends on a coalition of strong and independent nations that embrace their sovereignty, to promote security, prosperity, and peace, for themselves and for the world. We do not expect diverse countries to share the same cultures, traditions, or even systems of government, but we do expect all nations to uphold these two core sovereign duties, to respect the interests of their own people and the rights of every other sovereign nation.

This is the beautiful vision of this institution, and this is the foundation for cooperation and success. Strong sovereign nations let diverse countries with different values, different cultures, and different dreams not just coexist, but work side by side on the basis of mutual respect. Strong sovereign nations let their people take ownership of the future and control their own destiny. And strong sovereign nations allow individuals to flourish in the fullness of the life intended by God. In America, we do not seek to impose our way of life on anyone, but rather to let it shine as an example for everyone to watch.

This week gives our country a special reason to take pride in that example. We are celebrating the 230th anniversary of our beloved Constitution, the oldest constitution still in use in the world today. This timeless document has been the foundation of peace, prosperity, and freedom for the Americans and for countless millions around the globe whose own countries have found inspiration in its respect for human nature, human dignity, and the rule of law. The greatest in the United States Constitution is its first three beautiful words. They are “We the people.” Generations of Americans have sacrificed to maintain the promise of those words, the promise of our country and of our great history.

In America, the people govern, the people rule, and the people are sovereign. I was elected not to take power, but to give power to the American people where it belongs. In foreign affairs, we are renewing this founding principle of sovereignty. Our government’s first duty is to its people, to our citizens, to serve their needs, to ensure their safety, to preserve their rights, and to defend their values. As president of the United States, I will always put America first. Just like you, as the leaders of your countries, will always and should always put your countries first.

All responsible leaders have an obligation to serve their own citizens, and the nation state remains the best vehicle for elevating the human condition. But making a better life for our people also requires us to with work together in close harmony and unity, to create a more safe and peaceful future for all people.

The United States will forever be a great friend to the world and especially to its allies. But we can no longer be taken advantage of or enter into a one-sided deal where the United States gets nothing in return. As long as I hold this office, I will defend America’s interests above all else, but in fulfilling our obligations to our nations, we also realize that it’s in everyone’s interests to seek the future where all nations can be sovereign, prosperous, and secure.

America does more than speak for the values expressed in the United Nations charter. Our citizens have paid the ultimate price to defend our freedom and the freedom of many nations represented in this great hall. America’s devotion is measured on the battlefields where our young men and women have fought and sacrificed alongside of our allies. From the beaches of Europe to the deserts of the Middle East to the jungles of Asia, it is an eternal credit to the American character that even after we and our allies emerge victorious from the bloodiest war in history, we did not seek territorial expansion or attempt to oppose and impose our way of life on others. Instead, we helped build institutions such as this one to defend the sovereignty, security, and prosperity for all. For the diverse nations of the world, this is our hope.

We want harmony and friendship, not conflict and strife. We are guided by outcomes, not ideologies. We have a policy of principled realism, rooted in shared goal, interests, and values. That realism forces us to confront the question facing every leader and nation in this room, it is a question we cannot escape or avoid. We will slide down the path of complacency, numb to the challenges, threats, and even wars that we face, or do we have enough strength and pride to confront those dangers today so that our citizens can enjoy peace and prosperity tomorrow.

If we desire to lift up our citizens, if we aspire to the approval of history, then we must fulfill our sovereign duties to the people we faithfully represent. We must protect our nations, their interests and their futures. We must reject threats to sovereignty from the Ukraine to the South China Sea. We must uphold respect for law, respect for borders, and respect for culture, and the peaceful engagement these allow.

And just as the founders of this body intended, we must work together and confront together those who threatens us with chaos, turmoil, and terror. The score of our planet today is small regimes that violate every principle that the United Nations is based. They respect neither their own citizens nor the sovereign rights of their countries. If the righteous many do not confront the wicked few, then evil will triumph. When decent people and nations become bystanders to history, the forces of destruction only gather power and strength.

No one has shown more contempt for other nations and for the well-being of their own people than the depraved regime in North Korea. It is responsible for the starvation deaths of millions of North Koreans. And for the imprisonment, torture, killing, and oppression of countless more. We were all witness to the regime’s deadly abuse when an innocent American college student, Otto Warmbier, was returned to America, only to die a few days later.

We saw it in the assassination of the dictator’s brother, using banned nerve agents in an international airport. We know it kidnapped a sweet 13-year-old Japanese girl from a beach in her own country, to enslave her as a language tutor for North Korea’s spies. If this is not twisted enough, now North Korea’s reckless pursuit of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles threatens the entire world with unthinkable loss of human life. It is an outrage that some nations would not only trade with such a regime, but would arm, supply, and financially support a country that imperils the world with nuclear conflict.

No nation on Earth has an interest in seeing this band of criminals arm itself with nuclear weapons and missiles. The United States has great strength and patience, but if it is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea. Rocket Man is on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime. The United States is ready, willing, and able, but hopefully this will not be necessary. That’s what the United Nations is all about. That’s what the United Nations is for. Let’s see how they do.

It is time for North Korea to realize that the denuclearization is its only acceptable future. The United Nations Security Council recently held two unanimous 15-0 votes adopting hard-hitting resolutions against North Korea, and I want to thank China and Russia for joining the vote to impose sanctions, along with all of the other members of the Security Council. Thank you to all involved. But we must do much more.

It is time for all nations to work together to isolate the Kim regime until it ceases its hostile behavior. We face this decision not only in North Korea; it is far past time for the nations of the world to confront another reckless regime, one that speaks openly of mass murder, vowing death to America, destruction to Israel, and ruin for many leaders and nations in this room.

The Iranian government masks a corrupt dictatorship behind the false guise of a democracy. It has turned a wealthy country, with a rich history and culture, into an economically depleted rogue state whose chief exports are violence, bloodshed, and chaos. The longest-suffering victims of Iran’s leaders are, in fact, its own people. Rather than use its resources to improve Iranian live, its oil profits go to fund Hezbollah and other terrorists that kill innocent Muslims and attack their peaceful Arab and Israeli neighbors.

This wealth, which rightly belongs to Iran’s people, also goes to shore up Bashar al-Assad’s dictatorship, fuel Yemen’s civil war, and undermine peace throughout the entire Middle East. We cannot let a murderous regime continue these destabilizing activities while building dangerous missiles, and we cannot abide by an agreement if it provides cover for the eventual construction of a nuclear program. The Iran deal was one of the worst and most one-sided transactions the United States has ever entered into. Frankly, that deal is an embarrassment to the United States, and I don’t think you’ve heard the last of it. Believe me.

It is time for the entire world to join us in demanding that Iran’s government end its pursuit of death and destruction. It is time for the regime to free all Americans and citizens of other nations that they have unjustly detained. Above all, Iran’s government must stop supporting terrorists, begin serving its own people, and respect the sovereign rights of its neighbors. The entire world understands that the good people of Iran want change, and, other than the vast military power of the United States, that Iran’s people are what their leaders fear the most. This is what causes the regime to restrict internet access, tear down satellite dishes, shoot unarmed student protesters, and imprison political reformers.

Oppressive regimes cannot endure forever, and the day will come when the people will face a choice. Will they continue down the path of poverty, bloodshed, and terror, or will the Iranian people return to the nation’s proud roots as a center of civilization, culture, and wealth, where their people can be happy and prosperous once again? The Iranian regime’s support for terror is in stark contrast to the recent commitments of many of its neighbors to fight terrorism and halt its finance, and in Saudi Arabia early last year, I was greatly honored to address the leaders of more than 50 Arab and Muslim nations. We agreed that all responsible nations must work together to confront terrorists and the Islamic extremism that inspires them.

We will stop radical islamic terrorism because we cannot allow it to tear up our nation and, indeed, to tear up the entire world. We must deny the terrorists safe haven, transit, funding, and any form of support for their vile and sinister ideology. We must drive them out of our nation. It is time to expose and hold responsible those countries whose support and fi — who support and finance terror groups like al-Qaeda, Hezbollah, the Taliban, and others that slaughter innocent people.

The United States and our allies are working together throughout the Middle East to crush the loser terrorists and stop the reemergence of safe havens they use to launch attacks on all of our people. Last month I announced a new strategy for victory in the fight against this evil in Afghanistan. From now on, our security interests will dictate the length and scope of military operation, not arbitrary benchmarks and timetables set up by politicians. I have also totally changed the rules of engagement in our fight against the Taliban and other terrorist groups.

In Syria and Iraq, we have made big gains toward lasting defeat of ISIS. In fact, our country has achieved more against ISIS in the last eight months than it has in many, many years combined. We seek the deescalation of the Syrian conflict, and a political solution that honors the will of the Syrian people. The actions of the criminal regime of Bashar al-Assad, including the use of chemical weapons against his own citizens, even innocent children, shock the conscience of every decent person. No society could be safe if banned chemical weapons are allowed to spread. That is why the United States carried out a missile strike on the airbase that launched the attack.

We appreciate the efforts of the United Nations agencies that are providing vital humanitarian assistance in areas liberated from ISIS, and we especially thank Jordan, Turkey, and Lebanon for their role in hosting refugees from the Syrian conflict. The United States is a compassionate nation and has spent billions and billions of dollars in helping to support this effort. We seek an approach to refugee resettlement that is designed to help these horribly treated people and which enables their eventual return to their home countries to be part of the rebuilding process. For the cost of resettling one refugee in the United States, we can assist more than 10 in their home region.

Out of the goodness of our hearts, we offer financial assistance to hosting countries in the region and we support recent agreements of the G20 nations that will seek to host refugees as close to their home countries as possible. This is the safe, responsible, and humanitarian approach. For decades the United States has dealt with migration challenges here in the Western Hemisphere.

We have learned that over the long term, uncontrolled migration is deeply unfair to both the sending and the receiving countries. For the sending countries, it reduces domestic pressure to pursue needed political and economic reform and drains them of the human capital necessary to motivate and implement those reforms. For the receiving countries, the substantial costs of uncontrolled migration are born overwhelmingly by low-income citizens whose concerns are often ignored by both media and government.

I want to salute the work of the United Nations in seeking to address the problems that cause people to flee from their home. The United Nations and African Union led peacekeeping missions to have invaluable contributions in stabilizing conflict in Africa. The United States continues to lead the world in humanitarian assistance, including famine prevention and relief, in South Sudan, Somalia, and northern Nigeria and Yemen.

We have invested in better health and opportunity all over the world through programs like PEPFAR, which funds AIDS relief, the President’s Malaria Initiative, the Global Health Security Agenda, the Global Fund to End Modern Slavery, and the Women Entrepreneur’s Finance Initiative, part of our commitment to empowering women all across the globe.

We also thank — we also thank the secretary general for recognizing that the United Nations must reform if it is to be an effective partner in confronting threats to sovereignty, security, and prosperity. Too often the focus of this organization has not been on results, but on bureaucracy and process. In some cases, states that seek to subvert this institution’s noble end have hijacked the very systems that are supposed to advance them. For example, it is a massive source of embarrassment to the United Nations that some governments with egregious human rights records sit on the UN Human Rights Council.

The United States is one out of 193 countries in the United Nations, and yet we pay 22 percent of the entire budget and more. In fact, we pay far more than anybody realizes. The United States bears an unfair cost burden, but to be fair, if it could actually accomplish all of its stated goals, especially the goal of peace, this investment would easily be well worth it. Major portions of the world are in conflict, and some, in fact, are going to hell, but the powerful people in this room, under the guidance and auspices of the United Nations, can solve many of these vicious and complex problems. The American people hope that one day soon the United Nations can be a much more accountable and effective advocate for human dignity and freedom around the world.

In the meantime, we believe that no nation should have to bear a disproportionate share of the burden, militarily or financially. Nations of the world must take a greater role in promoting secure and prosperous societies in their own region. That is why in the Western Hemisphere the United States has stood against the corrupt, destabilizing regime in Cuba and embraced the enduring dream of the Cuban people to live in freedom.

My administration recently announced that we will not lift sanctions on the Cuban government until it makes fundamental reforms. We have also imposed tough calibrated sanctions on the socialist Maduro regime in Venezuela, which has brought a once thriving nation to the brink of total collapse. The socialist dictatorship of Nicolás Maduro has inflicted terrible pain and suffering on the good people of that country.

This corrupt regime destroyed a prosperous nation — prosperous nation, by imposing a failed ideology that has produced poverty and misery everywhere it has been tried. To make matters worse, Maduro has defied his own people, stealing power from their elected representatives, to preserve his disastrous rule. The Venezuelan people are starving, and their country is collapsing. Their democratic institutions are being destroyed. The situation is completely unacceptable, and we cannot stand by and watch.

As a responsible neighbor and friend, we and all others have a goal — that goal is to help them regain their freedom, recover their country, and restore their democracy. I would like to thank leaders in this room for condemning the regime and providing vital support to the Venezuelan people. The United States has taken important steps to hold the regime accountable. We are prepared to take further action if the government of Venezuela persists on its path to impose authoritarian rule on the Venezuelan people.

We are fortunate to have incredibly strong and healthy trade relationships with many of the Latin American countries gathered here today. Our economic bond forms a critical foundation for advancing peace and prosperity for all of our people and all of our neighbors. I ask every country represented here today to be prepared to do more to address this very real crisis. We call for the full restoration of democracy and political freedoms in Venezuela. The problem in Venezuela is not that socialism has been poorly implemented, but that socialism has been faithfully implemented.

From the Soviet Union to Cuba to Venezuela, wherever true socialism or communism has been adopted, it has delivered anguish and devastation and failure. Those who preach the tenets of these discredited ideologies only contribute to the continued suffering of the people who live under these cruel systems. America stands with every person living under a brutal regime. Our respect for sovereignty is also a call for action. All people deserve a government that cares for their safety, their interests, and their well-being, including their prosperity. In America, we seek stronger ties of business and trade with all nations of goodwill, but this trade must be fair and it must be reciprocal.

For too long the American people were told that mammoth, multinational trade deals, unaccountable international tribunals, and powerful global bureaucracies were the best way to promote their success. But as those promises flowed, millions of jobs vanished and thousands of factories disappeared. Others gamed the system and broke the rules, and our great middle class, once the bedrock of American prosperity, was forgotten and left behind, but they are forgotten no more and they will never be forgotten again.

While America will pursue cooperation and commerce with other nations, we are renewing our commitment to the first duty of every government, the duty of our citizens. This bond is the source of America’s strength and that of every responsible nation represented here today. If this organization is to have any hope of successfully confronting the challenges before us, it will depend, as President Truman said some 70 years ago, on the independent strength of its members.

If we are to embrace the opportunities of the future and overcome the present dangers together, there can be no substantive for strong, sovereign, and independent nations, nations that are rooted in the histories and invested in their destiny, nations that seek allies to befriend, not enemies to conquer, and most important of all, nations that are home to men and women who are willing to sacrifice for their countries, their fellow citizens, and for all that is best in the human spirit.

In remembering the great victory that led to this body’s founding, we must never forget that those heroes who fought against evil, also fought for the nations that they love. Patriotism led the Poles to die to save Poland, the French to fight for a free France, and the Brits to stand strong for Britain. Today, if we do not invest ourselves, our hearts, our minds, and our nations, if we will not build strong families, safe communities, and healthy societies for ourselves, no one can do it for us.

This is the ancient wish of every people and the deepest yearning that lives inside every sacred soul. So let this be our mission, and let this be our message to the world. We will fight together, sacrifice together, and stand together for peace, for freedom, for justice, for family, for humanity, and for the almighty God who made us all. Thank you, God bless you, God bless the nations of the world, and God bless the United States of America. Thank you very much.

 

10

Abysmal

There are good political ads, bad political ads and this political ad by Dan Helmer, a carpet bagging Army veteran from New Jersey seeking to win the 10th District Virginia Congressional seat currently occupied by Republican Barbara Comstock.  The pro-abort Helmers may have a political future, but this ad is doing its best to make his political career still-born.

 

 

 

 

Quotes Suitable for Framing: Abraham Lincoln

Judge Douglas ought to remember when he is endeavoring to force this policy upon the American people that while he is put up in that way a good many are not. He ought to remember that there was once in this country a man by the name of  Thomas Jefferson, supposed to be a Democrat—a man whose principles and policy are not very prevalent amongst Democrats to-day, it is true; but that man did not take exactly this view of the insignificance of the element of slavery which our friend Judge Douglas does. In contemplation of this thing, we all know he was led to exclaim, “I tremble for my country when I remember that God is just!” We know how he looked upon it when he thus expressed himself. There was danger to this country—danger of the avenging justice of God in that little unimportant popular sovereignty question of Judge Douglas. He supposed there was a question of God’s eternal justice wrapped up in the enslaving of any race of men, or any man, and that those who did so braved the arm of Jehovah—that when a nation thus dared the Almighty every friend of that nation had cause to dread His wrath. Choose ye between Jefferson and Douglas as to what is the true view of this element among us.

Abraham Lincoln, September 16, 1859

 

7

PopeWatch: Rodolfo Kusch

Sandro Magister gives us one of the intellectual fathers of the Pope:

 

 

Halfway through the first chapter, Jorge Mario Bergoglio also gives for the first time the name of the anthropologist who inspired his conception of “people”:

“There is a thinker that you should read: Rodolfo Kusch, a German who lived in northwestern Argentina, an excellent philosopher and anthropologist. He made one thing clear: that the word ‘people’ is not a logical word. It is a mythical word. It is not possible to speak of people logically, because that would mean making only a description. In order to understand a people, to understand what are the values of this people, one must enter into the spirit, into the heart, into the work, into the history, and into the myth of its tradition. This point is truly at the basis of the theology called ‘of the people.’ That is to say, to go with the people, see how it expresses itself. This distinction is important. The people is not a logical category, it is a mythical category.”

And a few pages later, Francis comes back to the subject to scold “L’Osservatore Romano” for having distorted his thought:

“I have said and have repeated: the word ‘people’ is not a logical concept, it is a mythical concept. Not mystical, but mythical. [. . .] I once said ‘mythical’ and L’Osservatore Romano involuntarily erred in the translation, speaking of ‘mystical people’. And do you know why? Because they did not understand what mythical people means. They said to themselves: No it is the pope who made a mistake, let’s put ‘mystical’.”

In effect, that’s precisely what happened. On the way back from the journey to Mexico, during the usual in-flight press conference, on February 7, 2016 Francis said precisely – speaking in Italian – that “the word ‘people’ is not a logical category, it is a mythical category.”

The video of the press conference, which is still available, is irrefutable proof of this. At the 52:29 mark, the word that comes from the pope’s mouth is “mythical” and not “mystical.”

The next day, however, “L’Osservatore Romano” changed the word to “mystical.” And the same thing happened with the official transcription of the press conference in multiple languages, the one that can still be read today on the Vatican website.

Francis quickly found out about the word change. And in an interview the following July 6 with the trusty Antonio Spadaro, director of “La Civiltà Cattolica” – an interview that ended up in a volume with the homilies and discourses of Bergoglio from when he was archbishop of Buenos Aires, published that same summer – he did all he could to put things back into place:

“There is a word that is very mistreated: there is so much talk about populism, about populist politics, about populist platforms. But this is a mistake. People is not a logical category, nor is it a mystical category, if we understand it in the sense that everything the people does is good or in the sense that the people is an angelic category. No! It is a mythical category, if anything. I repeat: mythical. People is an historical and mythical category. The people is made in a process, with the sights set on a common objective and project. History is built by this process of generations that succeed each other within a people. It takes a myth to understand the people. When you explain what a people is, you use logical categories because you have to explain it: they are needed, of course. But you do not explain in this way the meaning of belonging to the people. The word people has something more that cannot be explained in a logical manner. Being part of the people is being part of a shared identity made of social and cultural bonds. And this is not an automatic thing, on the contrary: it is a slow, difficult process toward a shared project.”

Curiously, “L’Osservatore Romano” – on November 11, 2016, in presenting the book with the homilies and discourses of Bergoglio – reproduced this clarification in its entirety, perhaps without realizing that it had been the cause of it.

But even those who manage the official publication of the pope’s texts did not bat an eye, leaving the word “mystical” in place of “mythical.”

And this brings us up to the book-length interview of this year with Dominique Wolton, in which Bergoglio lets loose.

Once again without anyone correcting the error, in the official collection of the pope’s discourses.

In any case, this “qui pro quo” has brought one benefit. It has given Pope Francis an opportunity to clarify further the meaning and roots of his populism. Where between “myth” and “mystique” the difference is not so great, as has been understood for some time:

> Bergoglio, Politician. The Myth of the Chosen People

As for his inspiration, Rodolfo Kusch (1922-1979), it is interesting that the pope should have named him.

An author of both anthropological and theatrical works, Kusch took his inspiration from Heidegger’s philosophy to distinguish between “being” and “dwelling,” describing with the first category the rationalistic and domineering vision of Western man and with the second the vision of the indigenous Latin American peoples, in peace with nature and animated by none other than a “myth.”

For Kusch, the first of the two visions, the Eurocentric one, is intolerant and incapable of understanding the second, which he instead wanted to accentuate and to which he dedicated his most important studies. For this reason too he found himself at the margins of the culture of the dominant elites and instead found an admirer in Bergoglio. Continue Reading

1

September 18, 1895: Booker T. Washington Delivers the Atlanta Compromise Speech

 

 

 

What has become known as the Atlanta Compromise Speech, delivered to The Cotton States and International Exposition in Atlanta, Georgia is one of the most tantalizing, and saddest, might have beens in the history of the nation.  Black educator and writer Booker T. Washington, the voice of Black America in the eyes of the general public, to an enthusiastic and overwhelmingly white audience, expounded his vision of a New South where white and black working together could lead to an era of prosperity such as the South had never known:

Nearly sixteen millions of hands will aid you in pulling the load upward, or they will pull against you the load downward. We shall constitute one-third and more of the ignorance and crime of the South, or one-third [of] its intelligence and progress; we shall contribute one-third to the business and industrial prosperity of the South, or we shall prove a veritable body of death, stagnating, depressing, retarding every effort to advance the body politic.

It is one of the great tragedies of American history that Washington’s prediction went largely ignored after an initial warm reception.  The South paid for it with almost half a century of relative economic sluggish growth, and, in may ways, the nation is still paying for it.  Booker T. Washington September 18, 1895: Continue Reading

26

Mark Shea, the Angelic Doctor, Francis Bacon and Truth

Dave Griffey at Daffey Thoughts takes a look at Mark Shea’s ongoing debate with strawmen:

 

 

I must admit, one reason I left Patheos was so that I could keep better track of Mark Shea.  When I came on board Patheos, our editor asked me to leave Mark alone and cease and desist arguments with him.  I more or less behaved myself, usually confining any references to Mark to the praise and ‘well done’ category.

That didn’t stop Mark, however, from visiting my blog a few times and throwing out his usual preemptive accusations, and then leaving.  Since Mark banned me from his own sites, I couldn’t respond, and he never returned to dialogue with me.

That became frustrating to be sure.  I tried to behave on my part, and yet felt I was coming out on the short end.  Therefore one of many reasons to leave Patheos was so I could speak more openly about Mark’s descent into the deepest levels of the modern Left.

This post is a grand example.  First of all, there is nothing wrong with the substance of what Mark says about Church teaching.  The Church condemns racism.  If you only oppose immigration because you are a racist, then that is bad.  Likewise, our salvation does not rest in blood or soil or nation.  The Church is not America, nor is it Western Civilization.

But that’s not the problem. First, Mark used a rather poor example to illustrate the opposing side of the debate.  Assuming this all came to Mark as he indicates – and knowing how Mark falsely accused me of saying things about him, I must wonder – it is obviously a poorly written, poorly thought out piece.  There are other, better pieces explaining the problems with open borders and post-national Christianity.  The biggest problem is that whatever negative results occur, it won’t be us who pay the price.  It will be future generations.  A sort of martyrdom by proxy: By the degree to which future generations pay for our opinions have we declared our righteousness.

Mark doesn’t address those.  He takes something written by what could pass as a high school Facebook rant.  And he uses it to subtly suggest this is par for the course for those who don’t agree with the Church’s current approach to the subject.

He then does the really, super duper bad thing.  He ascribes only the most vile and evil motives to those who oppose open border immigration.  And then, to add salt to the wound, he takes it to the next level:

“…is (like all these Alt Right guys) obsessed with his sperm.  That’s why he bizarrely speaks of “cuckolds” as he insults celibate “Catholic leaders”.  It’s all about the weird fear these guys have that darkskins will inseminate “their” white women.  The sexual insecurity of these wretched bully boys just leaps off the page every time they write.”

Go here to read the rest.  Saint Thomas Aquinas would take arguments he rejected, make them stronger than their adherents did, and only then subject the arguments to his powerful analysis.  Of course the Angelic Doctor didn’t post on the internet and his goal was not to get hits from red meat fans.  His whole purpose was to arrive at the truth of any subject he wrote about, as best as he could.  Unfortunately the attitude of  most internet posters to truth is summed up in the beginning of Francis Bacon’s essay Of Truth:

“What is truth?” said jesting Pilate, and would not stay for an answer.

We can do better than that, and not just Mark Shea.  This is a duty especially for those of us who follow Truth Incarnate.

 

15

PopeWatch: Humanae Vitae

 

The next shoe to drop in this Pontificate?

 

Father George Woodall, who teaches moral theology at the Pontifical Athenaeum Regina Apostolorum in Rome, outlined what he called “grave” concerns about a papal commission recently set up by Pope Francis that will, he says, “re-examine Humanae vitae (HV) in the light of Amoris laetitia.” The article was published on the National Catholic Register September 12. 

Pope Paul VI’s 1968 encyclical Humanae Vitae taught that “each and every marriage act must remain open to the transmission of human life,” calling the use of contraception (including the pill, condom, withdrawal, and other methods) “intrinsically wrong.” The encyclical celebrates its 50th anniversary next year. 

Woodall listed the “precise points of doctrine” in the encyclical that he suspects the commission will re-examine. These include: 

  • “The principle of the inseparability of the unitive and procreative meanings of the conjugal act (HV, n. 12), stated by Paul VI to be the basis for the condemnation of contraception (HV, n. 14).”
  • “The teaching that each and every conjugal act must remain open to procreation (HV, n. 11).”
  • “The condemnation of contraception as intrinsically morally disordered and hence incapable of being justified even for a good intention in pressing circumstances on the basis either that it might be the lesser evil or that it might partake of the goodness of those conjugal acts before and/ or after, during the whole of the married life, which had been or would be open to procreation, the reason being that what is intrinsically immoral may never be done even for a good intention (HV, n. 14).”
  • “The fact that this teaching, as the constant teaching of the Magisterium on this matter, is unchanged and unchangeable because the Magisterium has no power to decide what should be true, but only to proclaim what is true (HV, nn. 6, 18).”

Woodall predicted that if the commission were to use the moral principles and language found in Pope Francis 2016 Exhortation Amoris Laetitia, it would recommend that Humanae vitae “should be rejected or, more likely, should not be interpreted legalistically.”

The commission would likely say, he said, that the encyclical should not be “imposed as burdens on couples unable to bear them by those wishing to cast stones at people in difficulties, but should be presented to them as mere ‘ideals’, which married couples should seek to fulfill, but which they might not be able always to fulfill in pressing circumstances and which, for a good intention — and perhaps through discernment, assisted by a pastor in the light of their unique circumstances — they might violate, set aside, or interpret creatively,” he said. 

Just as the “pastoral approach” in Amoris Laetitia was used to suggest that the 6th commandment against adultery does not apply to some couples in “irregular” situations, so too in this case, said Woodall, a similar approach would be used to suggest that Humanae vitae does not “really apply to some couples because, in their circumstances they could not be expected to abide by them.” Continue Reading

7

Saint Augustine and the Donatists

Peter approached Jesus and asked him,
“Lord, if my brother sins against me,
how often must I forgive?
As many as seven times?”
Jesus answered, “I say to you, not seven times but seventy-seven times.
That is why the kingdom of heaven may be likened to a king
who decided to settle accounts with his servants.
When he began the accounting,
a debtor was brought before him who owed him a huge amount.
Since he had no way of paying it back,
his master ordered him to be sold,
along with his wife, his children, and all his property,
in payment of the debt.
At that, the servant fell down, did him homage, and said,
‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you back in full.’
Moved with compassion the master of that servant
let him go and forgave him the loan.
When that servant had left, he found one of his fellow servants
who owed him a much smaller amount.
He seized him and started to choke him, demanding,
‘Pay back what you owe.’
Falling to his knees, his fellow servant begged him,
‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.’
But he refused.
Instead, he had the fellow servant put in prison
until he paid back the debt.
Now when his fellow servants saw what had happened,
they were deeply disturbed, and went to their master
and reported the whole affair.
His master summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked servant!
I forgave you your entire debt because you begged me to.
Should you not have had pity on your fellow servant,
as I had pity on you?’
Then in anger his master handed him over to the torturers
until he should pay back the whole debt.
So will my heavenly Father do to you,
unless each of you forgives your brother from your heart.”

Matthew 18:  21-35

Throughout the history of the Church there has always been a tension between mercy and justice.  This tension was very much at the fore during the time of Saint Augustine in the fourth and fifth centuries.  During the persecution of Diocletian in the third century, some bishops and priests, along with many ordinary Christians, apostatized in order to save their lives.  After the persecution these same individuals often asked for readmission to the Church.  The question arose as to what was to be done with these individuals.  The Catholic view was that after a period of penitence, often quite lengthy, these penitent sinners could be readmitted to the Church.  This generosity appalled not a few Catholics who had borne persecution and risked their lives for the Faith.  Bishop Donatus of Cathage, primate of North Africa, taught that those who had apostatized had to be re-baptized and then admitted back into the Catholic Church, and that the sacraments could not be administered by clergy who had fallen from the Faith.  The Church taught that the powers of the clergy were inherent in their office and that  their moral unworthiness did not affect the validity of the sacraments they administered.  A few minutes reflection convinces me of the necessity of this doctrine of the Church.  Otherwise we would have a continual concern with whether each priest or bishop is leading a holy life, something we usually have no way of knowing, and continual doubts about the validity of the sacraments we receive.

The teachings of Donatus were condemned by Pope Miltiades in 313.  The Donatists in response formed their own church, very strong in North Africa, and many cities and towns had both Catholic and Donatist churches, with the Donatists establishing their own hierarchy.

Saint Augustine battled the Donatists in his sermons and other writings.  In 411 a conference was held at Carthage attended by both Catholic and Arian bishops before an Imperial official, Marcellinus, a friend of Saint Augustine.  The Catholics, confident in their teaching and also confident of Imperial support, had instigated the idea of the conference.  The outcome of the conference was foreordained, with the Donatists being banned by the Empire, although it is also clear that the Donatist spokesmen were no match for Saint Augustine in debate.

Donatist bishop Petitilian stated during the conference:  “He who receives faith from the faithless receives not faith, but guilt, [and] everything consists of an origin and a root; and if it has not something for a head, it is nothing”

Saint Augustine responded:

“Wherefore, whether a man receive the sacrament of baptism from a faithful or a faithless minister, his whole hope is in Christ, that he fall not under the condemnation that ‘cursed is he that placeth his hope in man.’ Otherwise if each man is born again in spiritual grace of the same sort as he by whom he is baptized, and if when he who baptizes him is manifestly a good man, then he himself gives faith, he is himself the origin and root and head of him who is being born… when the baptizer is faithless without its being known, then the baptized person receives faith from Christ. …in that case all who are baptized should wish that they might have faithless baptizers.”

Sinful clerics are a scandal that have ever been with the Church beginning with Judas.  They often wreak much damage to the Faith.  However, even such unworthy vessels are channels of the grace of Christ per the power granted to Peter and the Church by Christ.  Human sinfulness can never withstand the power of God, or even obstruct it, if God intends otherwise.  The Donatists envisaged a Church presided over by Saints, a vision very different from that of Christ who saw His Church completing her mission in spite of human sin and folly, at all times using weak humans to bring the message of salvation and the grace of God.

 

 

 

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Ty Cobb and Myths

Ty Cobb (1886-1961), the Georgia Peach. One of the greatest ball players who ever strapped on cleats, he has also been long regarded as a violent racist and a dirty player.  According to a recent biographer, he was neither:

 

 

History, is, or should be, a continuing search for the truth.  In regard to Ty Cobb it appears that the search for the truth about him is bearing fruit.  He was neither an angel nor a monster but a work in progress throughout his life, as we all are.

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PopeWatch: Punched by the Holy Spirit

From the only reliable source of Catholic news on the net, Eye of the Tiber:

 

 

Days after the Pontiff sustained injuries after hitting his head in a popemobile accident in Colombia, Pope Francis has now condemned his own motu proprio, Magnum Principium, allowing bishops’ conferences control over the translation of liturgical texts.

Pope Francis had originally published the motu proprio, which shifted control over liturgical texts from Apostolic See to diocesan bishop, before hitting his head against a bar during the accident.

According to one adviser to the pope, Monsignor Alberto Pico, Pope Francis began acting “odd” not long after the accident.

“On the plane back to Rome, he was reading a copy of Magnum Principium and began calling it a bunch of crap, before opening the door to the plane and throwing it out. He wasn’t aware that he was the one who wrote it. When we told him that it was his own writing, he became extremely angry and would not believe us.”

Pico went on to say that moments after landing in Rome, Francis demanded to go to a chapel located just miles from the airport, where he began preparations to say the Latin Mass, saying, “Dammit, Pico, hand me my chasuble…now!”

“It was all quite surreal. After the Mass, he asked those close to him to begin the processes of reversing nearly everything he has said and done since his election, including demoting nearly all of the bishops and cardinals that he had created. In this way, His Holiness added, he would be able to retire in one year, and would be able leave the Church as it had been before his election.” Continue Reading